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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2004 May;286(5):E818-27. Epub 2004 Jan 21.

Novel regulation by Rac1 of glucose- and forskolin-induced insulin secretion in INS-1 beta-cells.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, National Univ. Medical Institutes, National Institutes of Singapore, Singapore 117597, Singapore.


Stimulation of insulin secretion by glucose and other secretagogues from pancreatic islet beta-cells is mediated by multiple signaling pathways. Rac1 is a member of Rho family GTPases regulating cytoskeletal organization, and recent evidence also implicates Rac1 in exocytotic processes. Herein, we report that exposure of insulin-secreting (INS) cells to stimulatory glucose concentrations caused translocation of Rac1 from cytosol to the membrane fraction (including the plasmalemma), an indication of Rac1 activation. Furthermore, glucose stimulation increased Rac1 GTPase activity. Time course study indicates that such an effect is demonstrable only after 15 min stimulation with glucose. Expression of a dominant-negative Rac1 mutant (N17Rac1) abolished glucose-induced translocation of Rac1 and significantly inhibited insulin secretion stimulated by glucose and forskolin. This inhibitory effect on glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was more apparent in the late phase of secretion. However, N17Rac1 expression did not significantly affect insulin secretion induced by high K+. INS-1 cells expressing N17Rac1 also displayed significant morphological changes and disappearance of F-actin structures. Expression of wild-type Rac1 or a constitutively active Rac1 mutant (V12Rac1) did not significantly affect either the stimulated insulin secretion or basal release, suggesting that Rac1 activation is essential, but not sufficient, for evoking secretory process. These data suggest, for the first time, that Rac1 may be involved in glucose- and forskolin-stimulated insulin secretion, possibly at the level of recruitment of secretory granules through actin cytoskeletal network reorganization.

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