Insulin stimulates glucose transport in rat adipose cells through the translocation of glucose transporters from an intracellular pool to the plasma membrane. A detailed characterization of the morphology, protein composition and marker enzyme content of subcellular fractions of these cells, prepared by differential ultracentrifugation, and of the distribution of glucose transporters among these fractions is now described. Glucose transporters were measured using specific d-glucose-inhibitable [3H]cytochalasin B binding. In the basal state, roughly 90% of the cells' glucose transporters are associated with a low-density microsomal, Golgi marker enzyme-enriched membrane fraction. However, the distributions of glucose transporters and Golgi marker enzyme activities over all fractions are clearly distinct. Incubation of intact cells with insulin increases the number of glucose transporters in the plasma membrane fraction 4-5-fold and correspondingly decreases the intracellular pool, without influencing any other characteristics of the subcellular fractions examined or the estimated total number of glucose transporters (3.7·106/cell). Insulin does not influence the Kd of the glucose transporters in the plasma membrane fraction for cytochalasin B binding (98 nM), but lowers that in the intracellular pool (from 141 to 93 nM). The calculated turnover numbers of the glucose transporters in the plasma membrane vesicles from basal and insulin-stimulated cells are similar (15·103 mol of glucose/min per mol of transporters at 37°C), whereas insulin appears to increase the turnover number in the plasma membrane of intact cells roughly 4-fold. These results suggest that (1) the intracellular pool of glucose transporters may comprise a specialized membrane species, (2) intracellular glucose transporters may undergo conformational changes during their cycling to the plasma membrane in response to insulin, and (3) the translocation of glucose transporters may represent only one component in the mechanism through which insulin regulates glucose transport in the intact cell.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology