GLUT8 contains [DE]XXXL[LI] sorting motif and localizes to a late endomosal/lysosomal compartment

Robert Augustin, Joan Riley, Kelle H. Moley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Glucose transporter 8 (GLUT8) contains a cytoplasmic N-terminal dileucine motif and localizes to a thus far unidentified intracellular compartment. Translocation of GLUTS to the plasma membrane (PM) was found in insulin-treated mouse blastocysts. Using overexpression of GLUT8 in adipocytes and neuronal cells however, insulin treatment or depolarization of the cells did not lead to GLUT8 PM translocation in other studies. In addition, other experiments showing dynamin-dependent endocyosis of GLUT8 suggested that GLUT8 recycles between an endosomal compartment and the PM. To reveal the functional/physiological role of GLUT8, we studied its subcellular localization in 3T3L-1, HEK293 and CHO cells. We show that GLUT8 does not co-localize with GLUT4 and does not redistribute to the PM after treatment with insulin, ionophores or okadaic acid in these cell lines. Once endocytosed, GLUT8 does not recycle to the PM. GLUT8 localizes to late endosomes and lysosomes. An interspecies GLUT8-sequence alignment revealed the presence of a highly conserved late enclosomal/lysosornakargeting motif ([DE]XXXL[UI]). Changing the glutamate to arginine as found in GLUT4 (RRXXXLL) alters GLUTS endocytosis and retains the transporter at the PM. Furthermore, sorting GLUTS to late endosomes/lysosomes does not require prior presence of GLUT8 at the PM followed by its endocytosis. In summary, GLUT8 does not reside in a recycling vesicle pool and is distinct from GLUT4. From our data, we postulate a role for GLUT8 in transport of hexoses across intracellular membranes, for example in specific compartments of GLUT8 expression such as the acrosome of mature spermatozoa or secretory granules in neurorm. Furthermore, a role for GLUT8 in hexose transport across the lysosomal membrane, a transport mechanism that has long been suggested but unexplained, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1212
Number of pages17
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Endocytosis
  • GLUT8
  • Glucose transporter
  • Lysosomes
  • Targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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