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Blood. 1997 Jun 1;89(11):4190-5.

Human erythrocytes express GLUT5 and transport fructose.

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  • 1Instituto de Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia.


Although erythrocytes readily metabolize fructose, it has not been known how this sugar gains entry to the red blood cell. We present evidence indicating that human erythrocytes express the fructose transporter GLUT5, which is the major means for transporting fructose into the cell. Immunoblotting and immunolocalization experiments identified the presence of GLUT1 and GLUT5 as the main facilitative hexose transporters expressed in human erythrocytes, with GLUT2 present in lower amounts. Functional studies allowed the identification of two transporters with different kinetic properties involved in the transport of fructose in human erythrocytes. The predominant transporter (GLUT5) showed an apparent Km for fructose of approximately 10 mmol/L. Transport of low concentrations of fructose was not affected by 2-deoxy-D-glucose, a glucose analog that is transported by GLUT1 and GLUT2. Similarly, cytochalasin B, a potent inhibitor of the functional activity of GLUT1 and GLUT2, did not affect the transport of fructose in human erythrocytes. The functional properties of the fructose transporter present in human erythrocytes are consistent with a central role for GLUT5 as the physiological transporter of fructose in these cells.

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