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J Biol Chem. 1992 Sep 5;267(25):17710-5.

Effects of insulin on steady state kinetics of GLUT4 subcellular distribution in rat adipocytes. Evidence of constitutive GLUT4 recycling.

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  • 1Biophysical Laboratory, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Buffalo, New York 14215.


We labeled rat adipocyte cell surface glucose transporters with an impermeable, photoreactive glucose analogue, 1,3-bis-(3-deoxy-D-glucopyranose-3-yloxy)-2-propyl 4-benzoylbenzoate (B3GL) and its radioactive tracer [3H]B3GL. The labeling did not affect glucose transporter subcellular distribution in basal and insulin-stimulated adipocytes. When basal or insulin-stimulated adipocytes were labeled with [3H]B3GL and incubated at 37 degrees C in steady state, labeled GLUT4 was rapidly reduced at the cell surface and stoichiometrically recovered in microsomes without any change in GLUT4 protein levels in either pool. The labeled GLUT4 equilibrium exchange was found to be a simple first order process describable by two first order rate constants, one for internalization (k(in)) and the other for externalization (kex). Insulin affected both rate constants, reducing k(in) by 2.8-fold and increasing kex by 3.3-fold. It is concluded that GLUT4 constantly and rapidly recycles in adipocytes between the cell surface and its storage pool, and insulin increases the cell surface GLUT4 level in rat adipocytes by modulating both the internalization and the externalization steps of constitutively recycling GLUT4.

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