Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the body and is known to play a regulatory role in several cell specific processes including metabolism (e.g., oxidative fuel, gluconeogenic precursor, and lipogenic precursor), cell integrity (apoptosis, cell proliferation), protein synthesis, and degradation, contractile protein mass, redox potential, respiratory burst, insulin resistance, insulin secretion, and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis. Glutamine has been shown to regulate the expression of many genes related to metabolism, signal transduction, cell defense and repair, and to activate intracellular signaling pathways. Thus, the function of glutamine goes beyond that of a simple metabolic fuel or protein precursor as previously assumed. In this review, we have attempted to identify some of the common mechanisms underlying the regulation of glutamine dependent cellular functions. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.