Nat Commun 14 (1) 4070 [2023-07-10; online 2023-07-10]
Glucose transporters (GLUTs) are essential for organism-wide glucose homeostasis in mammals, and their dysfunction is associated with numerous diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. Despite structural advances, transport assays using purified GLUTs have proven to be difficult to implement, hampering deeper mechanistic insights. Here, we have optimized a transport assay in liposomes for the fructose-specific isoform GLUT5. By combining lipidomic analysis with native MS and thermal-shift assays, we replicate the GLUT5 transport activities seen in crude lipids using a small number of synthetic lipids. We conclude that GLUT5 is only active under a specific range of membrane fluidity, and that human GLUT1-4 prefers a similar lipid composition to GLUT5. Although GLUT3 is designated as the high-affinity glucose transporter, in vitro D-glucose kinetics demonstrates that GLUT1 and GLUT3 actually have a similar KM, but GLUT3 has a higher turnover. Interestingly, GLUT4 has a high KM for D-glucose and yet a very slow turnover, which may have evolved to ensure uptake regulation by insulin-dependent trafficking. Overall, we outline a much-needed transport assay for measuring GLUT kinetics and our analysis implies that high-levels of free fatty acid in membranes, as found in those suffering from metabolic disorders, could directly impair glucose uptake.