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FEBS J. 2008 Feb;275(4):705-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.06232.x. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

A pre-docking role for microtubules in insulin-stimulated glucose transporter 4 translocation.

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  • 1National Key Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Insulin stimulates glucose uptake by inducing translocation of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) from intracellular resides to the plasma membrane. How GLUT4 storage vesicles are translocated from the cellular interior to the plasma membrane remains to be elucidated. In the present study, intracellular transport of GLUT4 storage vesicles and the kinetics of their docking at the plasma membrane were comprehensively investigated at single vesicle level in control and microtubule-disrupted 3T3-L1 adipocytes by time-lapse total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. It is demonstrated that microtubule disruption substantially inhibited insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation. Detailed analysis reveals that microtubule disruption blocked the recruitment of GLUT4 storage vesicles to underneath the plasma membrane and abolished the docking of them at the plasma membrane. These data suggest that transport of GLUT4 storage vesicles to the plasma membrane takes place along microtubules and that this transport is obligatory for insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation.

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