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J Cell Sci. 2010 Apr 15;123(Pt 8):1343-51. doi: 10.1242/jcs.066464. Epub 2010 Mar 23.

Insulin regulates alveolar epithelial function by inducing Na+/K+-ATPase translocation to the plasma membrane in a process mediated by the action of Akt.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Stimulation of Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase translocation to the cell surface increases active Na(+) transport, which is the driving force of alveolar fluid reabsorption, a process necessary to keep the lungs free of edema and to allow normal gas exchange. Here, we provide evidence that insulin increases alveolar fluid reabsorption and Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity by increasing its translocation to the plasma membrane in alveolar epithelial cells. Insulin-induced Akt activation is necessary and sufficient to promote Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase translocation to the plasma membrane. Phosphorylation of AS160 by Akt is also required in this process, whereas inactivation of the Rab GTPase-activating protein domain of AS160 promotes partial Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase translocation in the absence of insulin. We found that Rab10 functions as a downstream target of AS160 in insulin-induced Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase translocation. Collectively, these results suggest that Akt plays a major role in Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase intracellular translocation and thus in alveolar fluid reabsorption.

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