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The regulated movement of glucose across mammalian cell membranes is mediated by facilitative glucose transporters (GLUTs) embedded in lipid bilayers. Despite the known importance of phospholipids in regulating protein structure and activity, the lipid-induced effects on the GLUTs remain poorly understood. We systematically examined the effects of physiologically relevant phospholipids on glucose transport in liposomes containing purified GLUT4 and GLUT3. The anionic phospholipids, phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylglycerol, and phosphatidylinositol, were found to be essential for transporter function by activating it and stabilizing its structure. Conical lipids, phosphatidylethanolamine and diacylglycerol, enhanced transporter activity up to 3-fold in the presence of anionic phospholipids but did not stabilize protein structure. Kinetic analyses revealed that both lipids increase the kcat of transport without changing the Km values. These results allowed us to elucidate the activation of GLUT by plasma membrane phospholipids and to extend the field of membrane protein-lipid interactions to the family of structurally and functionally related human solute carriers.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem




17271 - 17282


glucose transport, glucose transport kinetics, glucose transporter type 3 (GLUT3), glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4), liposome, membrane transporter reconstitution, phospholipid, phospholipid vesicle, protein-lipid interaction, Biological Transport, Active, Glucose Transporter Type 3, Glucose Transporter Type 4, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Liposomes, Phospholipids