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J Biol Chem. 2007 Mar 9;282(10):7710-22. Epub 2007 Jan 3.

The glucose transporter 4-regulating protein TUG is essential for highly insulin-responsive glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

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Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Insulin stimulates glucose uptake in fat and muscle by redistributing GLUT4 glucose transporters from intracellular membranes to the cell surface. We previously proposed that, in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, TUG retains GLUT4 within unstimulated cells and insulin mobilizes this retained GLUT4 by stimulating its dissociation from TUG. Yet the relative importance of this action in the overall control of glucose uptake remains uncertain. Here we report that transient, small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of TUG causes GLUT4 translocation and enhances glucose uptake in unstimulated 3T3-L1 adipocytes, similar to insulin. Stable TUG depletion or expression of a dominant negative fragment likewise stimulates GLUT4 redistribution and glucose uptake, and insulin causes a 2-fold further increase. Microscopy shows that TUG governs the accumulation of GLUT4 in perinuclear membranes distinct from endosomes and indicates that it is this pool of GLUT4 that is mobilized by TUG disruption. Interestingly, in addition to translocating GLUT4 and enhancing glucose uptake, TUG disruption appears to accelerate the degradation of GLUT4 in lysosomes. Finally, we find that TUG binds directly and specifically to a large intracellular loop in GLUT4. Together, these findings demonstrate that TUG is required to retain GLUT4 intracellularly in 3T3-L1 adipocytes in the absence of insulin and further implicate the insulin-stimulated dissociation of TUG and GLUT4 as an important action by which insulin stimulates glucose uptake.

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