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J Biol Chem. 2011 Aug 12;286(32):28026-40. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.235366. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Munc18-1 and Munc18-2 proteins modulate beta-cell Ca2+ sensitivity and kinetics of insulin exocytosis differently.

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  • 1The Rolf Luft Research Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Karolinska Institutet, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

Fast neurotransmission and slower hormone release share the same core fusion machinery consisting of SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) proteins. In evoked neurotransmission, interactions between SNAREs and the Munc18-1 protein, a member of the Sec1/Munc18 (SM) protein family, are essential for exocytosis, whereas other SM proteins are dispensable. To address if the exclusivity of Munc18-1 demonstrated in neuroexocytosis also applied to fast insulin secretion, we characterized the presence and function of Munc18-1 and its closest homologue Munc18-2 in β-cell stimulus-secretion coupling. We show that pancreatic β-cells express both Munc18-1 and Munc18-2. The two Munc18 homologues exhibit different subcellular localization, and only Munc18-1 redistributes in response to glucose stimulation. However, both Munc18-1 and Munc18-2 augment glucose-stimulated hormone release. Ramp-like photorelease of caged Ca(2+) and high resolution whole-cell patch clamp recordings show that Munc18-1 and Munc18-2 overexpression shift the Ca(2+) sensitivity of the fastest phase of insulin exocytosis differently. In addition, we reveal that Ca(2+) sensitivity of exocytosis in β-cells depends on the phosphorylation status of the Munc18 proteins. Even though Munc18-1 emerges as the key SM-protein determining the Ca(2+) threshold for triggering secretory activity in a stimulated β-cell, Munc18-2 has the ability to increase Ca(2+) sensitivity and thus mediates the release of fusion-competent granules requiring a lower cytoplasmic-free Ca(2+) concentration, [Ca(2+)](i)(.) Hence, Munc18-1 and Munc18-2 display distinct subcellular compartmentalization and can coordinate the insulin exocytotic process differently as a consequence of the actual [Ca(2+)](i).

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