The homeodomain protein PDX-1, referred as IPF-1/STF-1/IDX-1, is a transcriptional factor that plays a critical role in the control of several genes expressed in the pancreatic islet. PDX-1 gene expression has been previously shown to be reduced in cultured beta-cell lines chronically exposed to high glucose concentrations. As the glucose transporter type 2 (GLUT2) gene expression is selectively decreased in the beta-pancreatic cells of experimental models of diabetes, we postulated that the loss of GLUT2 gene expression in the pancreatic islets of diabetic animals may be due to the loss of PDX-1 transacting function on the GLUT2 gene. We, therefore, investigated the potential role of PDX-1 in the transcriptional control of GLUT2. We have identified a repeat of a TAAT motif (5'-TAATA-ATAACA-3') conserved in the sequence of the human and murine GLUT2 promoters. Recombinant PDX-1 binds to this GLUT2TAAT motif in electrophoretic mobility shift experiments. PDX-1 antiserum detects the formation of the complex of PDX-1 with the GLUT2TAAT motif in nuclear extracts from the pancreatic insulin-secreting cell line, beta TC3. The GLUT2TAAT motif was mutated in the murine GLUT2 promoter (-1308/+49 bp) linked to a luciferase reporter gene and transfected into beta TC3 cells. Compared with the transcriptional activity of the wild type promoter, that of the mutated promoter decreases by 41%. Multiple copies of the GLUT2TAAT motif were ligated 5' to a heterologous promoter and transfected into a PDX-1-expressing cell line (beta TC3) and into cell lines lacking the homeobox factor (InR1-G9 and JEG-3). The GLUT2TAAT motif mediates the activation of the heterologous promoter in the PDX-1-expressing cell line but not in InR1-G9 or JEG-3 cell lines. Furthermore, cotransfection in a PDX-1-deficient cell line with the expression vector encoding PDX-1 transactivates specifically the heterologous promoter containing the multimerized GLUT2TAAT motif. These data demonstrate that the murine GLUT2 promoter is controlled by the PDX-1 homeobox factor through the identified GLUT2TAAT motif.