GLUT2 is the major glucose transporter in pancreatic beta-cells and hepatocytes. It plays an important role in insulin secretion from beta-cells and glucose metabolism in hepatocytes. To better understand the molecular determinants for GLUT2's distinctive glucose affinity and its ability to transport fructose, we constructed a series of chimeric GLUT2/GLUT3 proteins and analyzed them in both Xenopus oocytes and mammalian cells. The results showed the following. 1) GLUT3/GLUT2 chimera containing a region from transmembrane segment 9 to part of the COOH-terminus of GLUT2 had Km values for 3-O-methylglucose similar to those of wild-type GLUT2. Further narrowing of the GLUT2 component in the chimeric GLUTs lowered the Km values to those of wild-type GLUT3. 2) GLUT3/GLUT2 chimera containing a region from transmembrane segment 7 to part of the COOH-terminus of GLUT2 retained the ability to transport fructose. Further narrowing of this region in the chimeric GLUTs resulted in a complete loss of the fructose transport ability. 3) Chimeric GLUTs with the NH2-terminal portion of GLUT2 were unable to express glucose transporter proteins in either Xenopus oocytes or mammalian RIN 1046-38 cells. These results indicate that amino acid sequences in transmembrane segments 9-12 are primarily responsible for GLUT2's distinctive glucose affinity, whereas amino acid sequences in transmembrane segments 7-8 enable GLUT2 to transport fructose. In addition, certain region(s) of the amino-terminus of GLUT2 impose strict structural requirements on the carboxy-terminus of the glucose transporter protein. Interactions between these regions and the carboxy-terminus of GLUT2 are essential for GLUT2 expression.