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Mol Endocrinol. 2005 Apr;19(4):1067-77. Epub 2005 Jan 13.

Akt activation is required at a late stage of insulin-induced GLUT4 translocation to the plasma membrane.

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Garvan Institute of Medical Research, St. Vincent's Hospital, 384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, 2010 New South Wales, Australia.


Insulin stimulates the translocation of glucose transporter GLUT4 from intracellular vesicles to the plasma membrane (PM). This involves multiple steps as well as multiple intracellular compartments. The Ser/Thr kinase Akt has been implicated in this process, but its precise role is ill defined. To begin to dissect the role of Akt in these different steps, we employed a low-temperature block. Upon incubation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes at 19 C, GLUT4 accumulated in small peripheral vesicles with a slight increase in PM labeling concomitant with reduced trans-Golgi network labeling. Although insulin-dependent translocation of GLUT4 to the PM was impaired at 19 C, we still observed movement of vesicles toward the surface. Strikingly, insulin-stimulated Akt activity, but not phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase activity, was blocked at 19 C. Consistent with a multistep process in GLUT4 trafficking, insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation could be primed by treating cells with insulin at 19 C, whereas this was not the case for Akt activation. These data implicate two insulin-regulated steps in GLUT4 translocation: 1) redistribution of GLUT4 vesicles toward the cell cortex-this process is Akt-independent and is not blocked at 19 C; and 2) docking and/or fusion of GLUT4 vesicles with the PM-this process may be the major Akt-dependent step in the insulin regulation of glucose transport.

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