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J Histochem Cytochem. 1999 Mar;47(3):289-302.

Cellular and subcellular expression of Golf/Gs and Gq/G11 alpha-subunits in rat pancreatic endocrine cells.

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  • 1Unité de Recherches sur la Signalisation et les Fonctions Cellulaires: Paris, France.


We studied the cellular and subcellular localization of Galpha-subunits in pancreas by immunocytochemistry. Golfalpha and G11alpha were specifically localized in islet insulin B-cells and glucagon A-cells, respectively. Gsalpha and Gqalpha labeling was more abundant in B-cells. The presence of Golfalpha in B-cells was confirmed by in situ hybridization. In B-cells, Golfalpha and Gsalpha were found in the Golgi apparatus, plasma membrane (PM) and, remarkably, in mature and immature insulin secretory granules, mainly at the periphery of the insulin grains. Gqalpha was detected on the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) near the Golgi apparatus. In A-cells, the Galpha-subunits were mostly within the glucagon granules: G11alpha gave the strongest signal, Gsalpha less strong, Gq was scarce, and Golf was practically absent. Gqalpha and Gsalpha immunoreactivity was detected in acinar cells, although it was much weaker than that in islet cells. The cell-dependent distribution of the Galpha-subunits indicates that the stimulatory pathways for pancreatic function differ in acinar and in islet B- and A-cells. Furthermore, the G-protein subunits in islet cell secretory granules might be functional and participate in granule trafficking and hormone secretion.

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