Department of Biology & Biochemistry


Professor of Cell Biology

4 South 1.32


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 386874

Holman Group webpage


Prof Geoff Holman


Current Research

Structural studies. Mammalian tissues are known to express different glucose transporter isoforms (GLUTs 1-13) in different tissues. We are currently studying the structural differences and features of these isoforms that give rise to divergent function. Using molecular biology and cell biology approaches, glucose transporter constructs and mutants are being investigated which are impaired in glucose transport catalysis and altered subcellular trafficking and targeting.

Hexose analogues. The substrate specificity and functional properties of the GLUTs are being explored using a range of synthetic hexose analogues. Some of the GLUTs have high affinity for D-glucose (for example, GLUTs 1,3 and 4) while others (for example GLUT5 ) transport D-fructose preferentially. In addition, photoaffinity labels are being synthesised that can be used for studying the functional properties of each of the GLUTs.

Regulation of glucose transporter subcellular trafficking by insulin. Insulin has been shown to give a 20-fold increase in glucose transport into adipose cells. The mechanism of stimulation initially involves the tyrosine kinase activity of the insulin receptor and the enzyme phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Down-steam processes arising from these initial signalling events are being studied with particular emphasis on how signalling can influence the subcellular trafficking of glucose transporters. Photoaffinity sugar analogue probes are being used to study the insulin-dependent subcellular trafficking of the glucose transporter between intracellular and plasma membranes. The molecular basis of the impaired insulin signalling and glucose transporter translocation in pathophysiological conditions of insulin resistance, as occurs in Type II diabetes, are being investigated.

Goal: To determine the mechanisms involved in glucose transport catalysis and stimulation of glucose transport by insulin.


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