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J Biol Chem. 2002 May 17;277(20):17677-86. Epub 2002 Mar 7.

Mice deficient in the insulin-regulated membrane aminopeptidase show substantial decreases in glucose transporter GLUT4 levels but maintain normal glucose homeostasis.

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University of Virginia, Department of Internal Medicine/Division of Endocrinology, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


The insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP) is a zinc-dependent membrane aminopeptidase. It is the homologue of the human placental leucine aminopeptidase. In fat and muscle cells, IRAP colocalizes with the insulin-responsive glucose transporter GLUT4 in intracellular vesicles and redistributes to the cell surface in response to insulin, as GLUT4 does. To address the question of the physiological function of IRAP, we generated mice with a targeted disruption of the IRAP gene (IRAP-/-). Herein, we describe the characterization of these mice with regard to glucose homeostasis and regulation of GLUT4. Fed and fasted blood glucose and insulin levels in the IRAP-/- mice were normal. Whereas IRAP-/- mice responded to glucose administration like control mice, they exhibited an impaired response to insulin. Basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in extensor digitorum longus muscle, and adipocytes isolated from IRAP-/- mice were decreased by 30-60% but were normal for soleus muscle from male IRAP-/- mice. Total GLUT4 levels were diminished by 40-85% in the IRAP-/- mice in the different muscles and in adipocytes. The relative distribution of GLUT4 in subcellular fractions of basal and insulin-stimulated IRAP-/- adipocytes was the same as in control cells. We conclude that IRAP-/- mice maintain normal glucose homeostasis despite decreased glucose uptake into muscle and fat cells. The absence of IRAP does not affect the subcellular distribution of GLUT4 in adipocytes. However, it leads to substantial decreases in GLUT4 expression.

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