Impaired skeletal muscle glucose utilization under insulin action is a major defect in the etiology of type 2 diabetes. This is underscored by a new mouse model of type 2 diabetes generated by genetic disruption of one allele of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4+/-), the insulin-responsive glucose transporter in muscle and adipose tissue. Male GLUT4+/- mice exhibited decreased GLUT4 expression and glucose uptake in muscle that accompanied impaired whole-body glucose utilization, hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and heart histopathology. To determine whether development of the diabetic phenotype in GLUT4+/- mice can be forestalled by preventing the onset of impaired muscle GLUT4 expression and glucose utilization, standard genetic crossing was performed to introduce a fast-twitch muscle-specific GLUT4 transgene--the myosin light chain (MLC) promoter-driven transgene MLC-GLUT4--into GLUT4+/- mice (MLC-GLUT4+/- mice). GLUT4 expression and 2-deoxyglucose uptake levels were normalized in fast-twitch muscles of MLC-GLUT4+/- mice. In contrast to GLUT4+/- mice, MLC-GLUT4+/- mice exhibited normal whole-body glucose utilization. In addition, development of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia observed in GLUT4+/- mice was prevented in MLC-GLUT4+/- mice. The occurrence of diabetic heart histopathology in MLC-GLUT4+/- mice was reduced to control levels. Based on these results, we propose that the onset of a diabetic phenotype in GLUT4+/- mice can be avoided by preventing decreases in muscle GLUT4 expression and glucose uptake.