We have investigated the role of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) pathways in the regulation of intestinal fructose transport. Different combinations of anisomycin, PD98059 and wortmannin had very different effects on fructose transport in perfused isolated loops of rat jejunum. Transport was stimulated maximally by anisomycin (2µM) and blocked by SB203580 (20µM), confirming involvement of the p38 pathway. PD98059 (50µM) alone had little effect on fructose transport. However, it had a dramatic effect on stimulation by anisomycin, diminishing the Ka 50-fold from 1µM to 20nM to show that the ERK pathway restrains the p38 pathway. The Ka for diabetic jejunum was 30nM and PD98059 had no effect. Transport in the presence of anisomycin was 3.4-fold that for anisomycin plus PD98059 plus wortmannin. Transport was mediated by both GLUT5 and GLUT2. In general, GLUT2 levels increased up to 4-fold within minutes and with only minimal changes in GLUT5 or SGLT1 levels, demonstrating that GLUT2 trafficks by a rapid trafficking pathway distinct from that of GLUT5 and SGLT1. GLUT2 intrinsic activity was regulated over a 9-fold range. It is concluded that there is extensive cross-talk between the ERK, p38 and PI 3-kinase pathways in their control of brush-border fructose transport by modulation of both the levels and intrinsic activities of GLUT5 and GLUT2. The potential of the intracellular signalling pathways to regulate short-term nutrient transport during the assimilation of a meal and longer-term adaptation to diabetes and hyperglycaemia is discussed.

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