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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Sep 29;348(3):1123-31. Epub 2006 Aug 4.

Increased ATP-sensitive K+ channel expression during acute glucose deprivation.

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Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.


ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels play a central role in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) by pancreatic beta-cells. Activity of these channels is determined by their open probability (Po) and the number of channels present in a cell. Glucose is known to reduce Po, but whether it also affects the channel density is unknown. Using INS-1 model beta-cell line, we show that the expression of K(ATP) channel subunits, Kir6.2 and SUR1, is high at low glucose, but declines sharply when the ambient glucose concentration exceeds 5mM. In response to glucose deprivation, channel synthesis increases rapidly by up-regulating translation of existing mRNAs. The effects of glucose deprivation could be mimicked by pharmacological activation of 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase with 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide and metformin. Pancreatic beta-cells which have lost their ability for GSIS do not show such changes implicating a possible (patho-)physiological link between glucose-regulated KATP channel expression and the capacity for normal GSIS.

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