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J Biol Chem. 1987 Mar 5;262(7):3362-8.

Nuclear translocation of the insulin receptor. A possible mediator of insulin's long term effects.


The translocation of occupied surface insulin receptors to the nuclei of isolated hepatocytes was studied using the biologically active photosensitive insulin derivative, B2(2-nitro-4-azidophenylacetyl)-des-PheB1-insulin (NAPA-DP-insulin). When hepatocytes were photolabeled at 4 degrees C, extensively washed, and then further incubated at 37 degrees C for 1 h, photolabeled insulin receptors, which were initially localized to the cell surface, accumulated in the subsequently isolated nuclei. When the isolated nuclei were solubilized and subjected to polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and radioautography, labeled proteins with Mr identical to the cell surface insulin receptor were detected. Light microscopic radioautography of nuclei isolated from cells incubated for 1 ha at 37 degrees C demonstrated that 28% of these nuclei were specifically labeled with one or more grains. Electron microscopic radioautography of intact cultured hepatocytes, incubated 60 min at 37 degrees C, revealed that 26% of the thin-sectioned nuclei contained at least a single grain and 8.3% of the total cell-associated associated grains were located over the nuclei. Only 1.6% of grains were localized to lysosomes. In contrast, if photolabeled hepatocytes were incubated at 4 degrees C for up to 2 h, negligible accumulation of nuclear radioactivity was observed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis on light or electron microscopic radioautography. Conclusions are as follows. Occupied cell surface insulin receptors can internalize and translocate to the nucleus of intact hepatocytes by a time- and temperature-dependent mechanism. Accumulation and possible degradation of insulin receptors in lysosomes involves only a small percentage of the receptors internalized. Nuclear translocation of occupied cell surface insulin receptors may be a mechanism which mediates insulin's long term effects.

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