The ABC of Solute carriers Guest Editor: Matthias A. Hediger

Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 447, Issue 5, pp 480-489

First online:

The SLC2 family of facilitated hexose and polyol transporters

  • Marc UldryAffiliated withInstitute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Lausanne
  • , Bernard ThorensAffiliated withInstitute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Lausanne Email author 

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The SLC2 family of glucose and polyol transporters comprises 13 members, the glucose transporters (GLUT) 1–12 and the H+-myo-inositol cotransporter (HMIT). These proteins all contain 12 transmembrane domains with both the amino and carboxy-terminal ends located on the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane and a N-linked oligosaccharide side-chain located either on the first or fifth extracellular loop. Based on sequence comparison, the GLUT isoforms can be grouped into three classes: class I comprises GLUT1–4; class II, GLUT6, 8, 10, and 12 and class III, GLUT5, 7, 9, 11 and HMIT. Despite their sequence similarity and the presence of class-specific signature sequences, these transporters carry various hexoses and HMIT is a H+/myo-inositol co-transporter. Furthermore, the substrate transported by some isoforms has not yet been identified. Tissue- and cell-specific expression of the well-characterized GLUT isoforms underlies their specific role in the control of whole-body glucose homeostasis. Numerous studies with transgenic or knockout mice indeed support an important role for these transporters in the control of glucose utilization, glucose storage and glucose sensing. Much remains to be learned about the transport functions of the recently discovered isoforms (GLUT6–13 and HMIT) and their physiological role in the metabolism of glucose, myo-inositol and perhaps other substrates.


Facilitative diffusion Glucose transporter GLUT Glucose metabolism Diabetes