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Mol Biol Cell. 2010 Oct 15;21(20):3529-39. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-04-0316. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Arp2/3- and cofilin-coordinated actin dynamics is required for insulin-mediated GLUT4 translocation to the surface of muscle cells.

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Program in Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.


GLUT4 vesicles are actively recruited to the muscle cell surface upon insulin stimulation. Key to this process is Rac-dependent reorganization of filamentous actin beneath the plasma membrane, but the underlying molecular mechanisms have yet to be elucidated. Using L6 rat skeletal myoblasts stably expressing myc-tagged GLUT4, we found that Arp2/3, acting downstream of Rac GTPase, is responsible for the cortical actin polymerization evoked by insulin. siRNA-mediated silencing of either Arp3 or p34 subunits of the Arp2/3 complex abrogated actin remodeling and impaired GLUT4 translocation. Insulin also led to dephosphorylation of the actin-severing protein cofilin on Ser-3, mediated by the phosphatase slingshot. Cofilin dephosphorylation was prevented by strategies depolymerizing remodeled actin (latrunculin B or p34 silencing), suggesting that accumulation of polymerized actin drives severing to enact a dynamic actin cycling. Cofilin knockdown via siRNA caused overwhelming actin polymerization that subsequently inhibited GLUT4 translocation. This inhibition was relieved by reexpressing Xenopus wild-type cofilin-GFP but not the S3E-cofilin-GFP mutant that emulates permanent phosphorylation. Transferrin recycling was not affected by depleting Arp2/3 or cofilin. These results suggest that cofilin dephosphorylation is required for GLUT4 translocation. We propose that Arp2/3 and cofilin coordinate a dynamic cycle of actin branching and severing at the cell cortex, essential for insulin-mediated GLUT4 translocation in muscle cells.

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