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The structure of the human erythrocyte facilitative glucose transporter (GLUT1) has been intensively investigated using a wide array of chemical and biophysical approaches. Despite the lack of a crystal structure for any of the facilitative monosaccharide transport proteins, detailed information regarding primary and secondary structure, membrane topology, transport kinetics, and functionally important residues has allowed the construction of a sophisticated working model for GLUT1 tertiary structure. The existing data support the formation of a central aqueous channel formed by the juxtaposition of several amphipathic transmembrane-spanning α-helices. The results of extensive mutational analysis of GLUT1 have elucidated many of the structural determinants of the glucose permeation pathway. Continued application of currently available technologies will allow further refinement of this working model. In addition to providing insights into the molecular basis of both normal and disordered glucose homeostasis, this detailed understanding of structure/function relationships within GLUT1 can provide a basis for understanding transport carried out by other members of the major facilitator superfamily.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Membrane Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Membrane topology
  • Monosaccharide transport protein
  • Protein structure
  • Site-directed mutagenesis
  • Structure-activity relationships


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