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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2003 Sep;285(3):C698-710. Epub 2003 May 21.

Glucose regulates the cortical actin network through modulation of Cdc42 cycling to stimulate insulin secretion.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Diabetes Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis IN 46202, USA.


Glucose-stimulated insulin granule exocytosis in pancreatic beta-cells involves cortical actin remodeling that results in the transient disruption of the interaction between polymerized actin with the plasma membrane t-SNARE (target membrane soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) complex. To examine the mechanism underlying the initiation of cortical actin remodeling, we have used the actin nucleating/stabilizing agent jasplakinolide to show that remodeling is initiated at a step proximal to the ATP-sensitive K+ channels in the stimulus-secretion pathway. Confocal immunofluorescent microscopy revealed that cortical actin remodeling was required for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Furthermore, glucose was found to mediate the endogenous activation state of the Rho family GTPase Cdc42, a positive proximal effector of actin polymerization, resulting in a net decrease of Cdc42-GTP within 5 min of stimulation. Intriguingly, glucose stimulation resulted in the rapid and reversible glucosylation of Cdc42, suggesting that glucose inactivated Cdc42 by selective glucosylation to induce cortical actin rearrangement. Moreover, expression of the constitutively active form of Cdc42 (Q61L) inhibited glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, whereas the dominant negative form (T17N) was without effect, suggesting that glucose-stimulated insulin secretion requires Cdc42 cycling to the GDP-bound state. In contrast, KCl-stimulated insulin secretion was unaffected by the expression of dominant negative or constitutively active Cdc42 and ceased to modulate endogenous Cdc42 activation, consistent with glucose-dependent cortical actin remodeling. These findings reveal that glucose regulates the cortical actin network through modulation of Cdc42 cycling to induce insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells.

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