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Endocrinology. 2007 Nov;148(11):5248-57. Epub 2007 Aug 16.

Fish glucose transporter (GLUT)-4 differs from rat GLUT4 in its traffic characteristics but can translocate to the cell surface in response to insulin in skeletal muscle cells.

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Departament de Fisiologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.


In mammals, glucose transporter (GLUT)-4 plays an important role in glucose homeostasis mediating insulin action to increase glucose uptake in insulin-responsive tissues. In the basal state, GLUT4 is located in intracellular compartments and upon insulin stimulation is recruited to the plasma membrane, allowing glucose entry into the cell. Compared with mammals, fish are less efficient restoring plasma glucose after dietary or exogenous glucose administration. Recently our group cloned a GLUT4-homolog in skeletal muscle from brown trout (btGLUT4) that differs in protein motifs believed to be important for endocytosis and sorting of mammalian GLUT4. To study the traffic of btGLUT4, we generated a stable L6 muscle cell line overexpressing myc-tagged btGLUT4 (btGLUT4myc). Insulin stimulated btGLUT4myc recruitment to the cell surface, although to a lesser extent than rat-GLUT4myc, and enhanced glucose uptake. Interestingly, btGLUT4myc showed a higher steady-state level at the cell surface under basal conditions than rat-GLUT4myc due to a higher rate of recycling of btGLUT4myc and not to a slower endocytic rate, compared with rat-GLUT4myc. Furthermore, unlike rat-GLUT4myc, btGLUT4myc had a diffuse distribution throughout the cytoplasm of L6 myoblasts. In primary brown trout skeletal muscle cells, insulin also promoted the translocation of endogenous btGLUT4 to the plasma membrane and enhanced glucose transport. Moreover, btGLUT4 exhibited a diffuse intracellular localization in unstimulated trout myocytes. Our data suggest that btGLUT4 is subjected to a different intracellular traffic from rat-GLUT4 and may explain the relative glucose intolerance observed in fish.

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