A role for kinesin in insulin-stimulated GLUT4 glucose transporter translocation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 6;276(14):10677-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M010785200. Epub 2001 Jan 5.


Insulin regulates glucose uptake in adipocytes and muscle by stimulating the movement of sequestered glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) proteins from intracellular membranes to the cell surface. Here we report that optimal insulin-mediated GLUT4 translocation is dependent upon both microtubule and actin-based cytoskeletal structures in cultured adipocytes. Depolymerization of microtubules and F-actin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes causes the dispersion of perinuclear GLUT4-containing membranes and abolishes insulin action on GLUT4 movements to the plasma membrane. Furthermore, heterologous expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes of the microtubule-binding protein hTau40, which impairs kinesin motors that move toward the plus ends of microtubules, markedly delayed the appearance of GLUT4 at the plasma membrane in response to insulin. The hTau40 protein had no detectable effect on microtubule structure or perinuclear GLUT4 localization under these conditions. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that both the actin and microtubule-based cytoskeleton, as well as a kinesin motor, direct the translocation of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane in response to insulin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Kinesins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Slc2a4 protein, mouse
  • tau Proteins
  • Kinesins