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J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 8;277(6):3805-8. Epub 2001 Dec 21.

Imaging exocytosis of single insulin secretory granules with evanescent wave microscopy: distinct behavior of granule motion in biphasic insulin release.

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Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Internal Medicine (III), Kyorin University School of Medicine, Shinkawa 6-20-2, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8611, Japan.


To study insulin exocytosis by monitoring the single insulin secretory granule motion, evanescent wave microscopy was used to quantitatively analyze the final stage of insulin exocytosis with biphasic release. Green fluorescent protein-tagged insulin transfected in MIN6 beta cells was packed in insulin secretory granules, which appeared to preferentially dock to the plasma membrane. Upon fusion evoked by secretagogues, evanescent wave microscopy revealed that fluorescence of green fluorescent protein-tagged insulin brightened, spread (within 300 ms), and then vanished. Under KCl stimulation, which represents the 1st phase of release, the successive fusion events were seen mostly from previously docked granules for the first minute, followed by the recruitment of new granules to the plasmalemmal docking sites. Stimulation with glucose, in contrast, caused the fusion events from previously docked granules for the first 120 s, thereafter a continuous fusion (2nd phase of release) was observed over 10 min mostly from newly recruited granules that progressively accumulated on the plasma membrane. Thus, our data revealed the distinct behavior of the insulin granule motion during the 1st and 2nd phase of release.

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