Domains responsible for the differential targeting of glucose transporter isoforms

T. Asano, K. Takata, H. Katagiri, K. Tsukuda, J. L. Lin, H. Ishihara, K. Inukai, H. Hirano, Y. Yazaki, Y. Oka

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72 Citations (Scopus)


Facilitative glucose transporter isoforms, GLUT1 and GLUT4, have different intracellular distributions despite their very similar structure. In insulin- responsive tissues such as adipose tissues and muscle, GLUT4 protein resides mainly in the intracellular region in a basal condition and is translocated to the plasma membrane upon stimulation of insulin. In contrast, GLUT1 protein was distributed about equally between plasma membranes and low density microsomal membranes in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Furthermore, GLUT1 and GLUT4 were reported to be differentially targeted to the plasma membrane and intracellular region, respectively, when expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells and HepG2 cells. To elucidate the differential intracellular targeting mechanisms, several chimeric glucose transporters in which portions of GLUT4 are replaced with corresponding portions of GLUT1 have been stably expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy as well as measurement of glucose transport activity revealed that two domains of GLUT4, which are not the NH2- or COOH-terminal domain, determine its targeting to the intracellular vesicles. The first domain contains the consensus sequence of the leucine zipper structure, suggesting that a dimer-forming structure of the glucose transporter might be required for its proper targeting. The other domain contains 28 amino acids, nine of which are different between GLUT1 and GLUT4. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that the chimeric transporters containing both of these two domains of GLUT1, only the first domain of GLUT1, and none of the domains, exhibited a different cellular distribution with approximately 65, 30, and 15% of the transporters apparently on the plasma membrane, respectively. The addition of insulin did not alter the apparent cellular distributions of these chimeric transporters. These domains would be specifically recognized by intracellular targeting mechanisms in Chinese hamster ovary cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19636-19641
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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