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Functional Properties and Genomics of Glucose Transporters

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Glucose is the major energy source for mammalian cells as well as an important substrate for protein and lipid synthesis. Mammalian cells take up glucose from extracellular fluid into the cell through two families of structurallyrelated glucose transporters. The facilitative glucose transporter family (solute carriers SLC2A, protein symbol GLUT) mediates a bidirectional and energy-independent process of glucose transport in most tissues and cells, while the Na+/glucose cotransporter family (solute carriers SLC5A, protein symbol SGLT) mediates an active, Na+-linked transport process against an electrochemical gradient. The GLUT family consists of thirteen members (GLUT1-12 and HMIT). Phylogenetically, the members of the GLUT family are split into three classes based on protein similarities. Up to now, at least six members of the SGLT family have been cloned (SGLT1-6). In this review, we report both the genomic structure and function of each transporter as well as intra-species comparative genomic analysis of some of these transporters. The affinity for glucose and transport kinetics of each transporter differs and ranges from 0.2 to 17mM. The ability of each protein to transport alternative substrates also differs and includes substrates such as fructose and galactose. In addition, the tissue distribution pattern varies between species. There are different regulation mechanisms of these transporters. Characterization of transcriptional control of some of the gene promoters has been investigated and alternative promoter usage to generate different protein isoforms has been demonstrated. We also introduce some pathophysiological roles of these transporters in human.

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Keywords: Bioinformatics; comparative genomics; gene promoter; genomic organization; glucose transporters

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Lactation and Mammary Gland Biology Group, Department of Animal Science, University of Vermont,219 Terrill, 570 Main Street, Bington, VT 05405, USA.

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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