Cerebellar granule neurons in primary culture express increasing levels of two glucose transporter isoforms, GLUT1 and GLUT3, as they differentiate in vitro. We have determined the relative abundance of GLUT1 and GLUT3 in these neurons by three different labelling methods. (1) Photoaffinity cell surface labelling of neurons with an impermeant bis-mannose photolabel revealed 6-10-fold more GLUT3 than GLUT1 and dissociation constants (Kd) for the photolabel of 55-68 microM (GLUT3) and 146-169 microM (GLUT1). Binding to both transporters was inhibited by cytochalasin B. (2) Photoaffinity labelling of neuronal membranes with a permeant forskolin derivative showed 5.5-8-fold more GLUT3 than GLUT1, whereas in rat brain membranes containing both neuronal and glial membranes, GLUT3 and GLUT1 were detected in similar proportions. (3) Biosynthetic labelling of neurons with [35S]methionine and [35S]cysteine showed GLUT3 to be 6-10-fold more abundant than GLUT1. Thus GLUT3 is quantitatively the predominant glucose-transport isoform in cultured cerebellar granule neurons.

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