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Biochem J. 2000 Mar 1;346 Pt 2:321-8.

Actin filaments play a critical role in insulin-induced exocytotic recruitment but not in endocytosis of GLUT4 in isolated rat adipocytes.

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Department of Cell Biology, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma University, Maebashi 3718512, Japan.


Actin-based cytoskeletons have been implicated in insulin-stimulated glucose transport and translocation of the insulin-regulated glucose transporter, GLUT4, from the intracellular pool to the plasma membrane. However, most previous studies were done using adherent cell systems such as L6 myotubes and 3T3-L1 adipocytes, and very little information is available on the significance of the actin filaments to the insulin action in isolated adipocytes, a widely used experimental system. In the present study, we investigated the physiological role of actin filaments in the subcellular trafficking of GLUT4 in isolated rat adipocytes. We first compared the effects of two actin-disrupting reagents, latrunculin A and cytochalasin D, on the organization of the actin filaments as well as on the insulin action on glucose transport by laser confocal microscopy combined with biochemical analysis of the insulin action. Treatment of the cells with latrunculin A induced dose- and time-dependent disappearance of the filamentous actin, which correlated very well with inhibition of the insulin effect on glucose transport. Although cytochalasin D at 50 microM significantly inhibited insulin-stimulated glucose transport, it was not effective in disassembly of the actin filaments; rather, many intense punctate signals were observed in cytochalasin D-treated cells. In the actin-disrupted adipocytes treated with latrunculin A, insulin-induced GLUT4 translocation was inhibited completely. In addition, latrunculin A remarkably inhibited both insulin-induced glucose transport and GLUT4 translocation in the presense of D(k)-(62-85), a potent inhibitor of GLUT4 endocytosis, suggesting that intactness of the actin filaments was necessary for insulin-induced exocytosis of the GLUT4-containing vesicles. On the other hand, latrunculin A showed little inhibitory effect on either endocytosis of the trypsin-cleaved 35-kDa fragment of GLUT4 or decay of the glucose transport activity after addition of wortmannin in insulin-stimulated cells. The results of our experiment show clearly that, in rat adipocytes, (i) latrunculin A may be a more suitable tool than cytochalasin D for disruption of actin filaments, and (ii) actin filaments play a crucial role in exocytotic recruitment of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane from the intracellular pool, but not in its endocytosis.

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