Muscle plays a major role in metabolism. Thus it is a major glucose-utilizing tissue in the absorptive state, and changes in muscle insulin-stimulated glucose uptake alter whole-body glucose disposal. In some conditions, muscle preferentially uses lipid substrates, such as fatty acids or ketone bodies. Furthermore, muscle is the main reservoir of amino acids and protein. The activity of many different plasma membrane transporters, such as glucose carriers and transporters of carnitine, creatine and amino acids, play a crucial role in muscle metabolism by catalysing the influx or the efflux of substrates across the cell surface. In some cases, the membrane transport process is subjected to intense regulatory control and may become a potential pharmacological target, as is the case with the glucose transporter GLUT4. The goal of this review is the molecular characterization of muscle membrane transporter proteins, as well as the analysis of their possible regulatory role.

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