To investigate the biological and biochemical properties of GLUT5, rat GLUT5 complementary DNA was transfected into Chinese hamster ovary cells. Rat GLUT5 was exclusively targeted to the plasma membrane and exhibited a transport activity, not for glucose, but for fructose. The affinity for fructose (Km = 11.6mM) was much higher than that of GLUT2, the other glucose transporter with fructose transport activity. Interestingly, rat GLUT5 was not photolabeled with 0.5 microM cytochalasin B, whereas a similar amount of GLUT1 was adequately photolabeled under the same experimental conditions. Next, to investigate the domains required for transport of glucose/fructose in GLUT1 and/or GLUT5, several chimeric GLUT1/GLUT5 proteins were expressed, and their glucose and/or fructose transport activities were studied. The intracellular middle loop and the region encompassing the membrane spanning domains 7-12 were observed to have crucial roles in GLUT1 glucose transport, whereas replacement of the N-terminal half or the intracellular C-terminal region with the corresponding region of GLUT5 produced no marked effects on glucose transport activity. In contrast, both the N-terminal half encompassing the region from the N-terminus through the 6th membrane spanning domain and the intracellular C-terminal region were mandatory for GLUT5 fructose transport. In conclusion, GLUT5 is a transporter exclusively for fructose and the structural requirements for fructose transport are more stringent than those for glucose transport among hexose transporter proteins.