, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 27-42,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Aug 2008

Molecular Physiology of Mammalian Glucokinase


The glucokinase (GCK) gene was one of the first candidate genes to be identified as a human “diabetes gene". Subsequently, important advances were made in understanding the impact of GCK in the regulation of glucose metabolism. Structure elucidation by crystallography provided insight into the kinetic properties of GCK. Protein interaction partners of GCK were discovered. Gene expression studies revealed new facets of the tissue distribution of GCK, including in the brain, and its regulation by insulin in the liver. Metabolic control analysis coupled to gene overexpression and knockout experiments highlighted the unique impact of GCK as a regulator of glucose metabolism. Human GCK mutants were studied biochemically to understand disease mechanisms. Drug development programs identified small molecule activators of GCK as potential antidiabetics. These advances are summarized here, with the aim of offering an integrated view of the role of GCK in the molecular physiology and medicine of glucose homeostasis.

Received 11 June 2008; received after revision 18 July 2008; accepted 30 July 2008