The catalytic function and thermal stability of wild-type and mutant recombinant human pancreatic beta-cell glucokinase was investigated. The mutants E70K and E300K, which are thought to be the cause of impaired insulin production by the pancreatic beta-cell and decreased glucose uptake by the liver of patients with maturity-onset diabetes of the young, were found to be functionally indistinguishable from the wild-type, i.e. their kcat.S0.5, inflection point and h were normal. However, these two mutants showed markedly reduced stability under a variety of test conditions. Glucokinase instability, not low enzyme catalytic activity, may be the cause of diabetes mellitus with E70K and E300K mutants.