Transgenic mice containing one or more extra copies of the entire glucokinase (GK) gene locus were generated and characterized. The GK transgene, an 83-kilobase pair mouse genomic DNA fragment containing both promoter regions, was expressed and regulated in a cell-specific manner, and rescued GK null lethality when crossed into mice bearing a targeted mutation of the endogenous GK gene. Livers from the transgenic mice had elevated GK mRNA, protein, and activity levels, compared with controls, and the transgene was regulated in liver by dietary manipulations. The amount of GK immunoreactivity in hepatocyte nuclei, where GK binds to the GK regulatory protein, was also increased. Pancreatic islets displayed increased GK immunoreactivity and NAD(P)H responses to glucose, but only when isolated and cultured in 20 mM glucose, as a result of the hypoglycemic phenotype of these mice (Niswender, K. D., Shiota, M., Postic, C., Cherrington, A. D., and Magnuson, M. A. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 22604-22609). Together, these results indicate that the region of the gene from -55 to +28 kilobase pairs (relative to the liver GK transcription start site) contains all the regulatory sequences necessary for expression of both GK isoforms, thereby placing an upper limit on the size of the GK gene locus.