Insulin-stimulated glucose transport in skeletal muscle is thought to be effected at least partly through atypical protein kinase C isoforms (aPKCs) operating downstream of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase and 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 (PDK-1). However, relatively little is known about the activation of aPKCs in physiological conditions or insulin-resistant states. Presently, we studied aPKC activation in vastus lateralis muscles of normal chow-fed and high-fat-fed rats and after streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. In normal chow-fed rats, dose-dependent increases in aPKC activity approached maximal levels after 15-30 min of stimulation by relatively high and lower, presumably more physiological, insulin concentrations, achieved by im insulin or ip glucose administration. Insulin-induced activation of aPKCs was impaired in both high-fat-fed and STZ-diabetic rats, but, surprisingly, IRS-1-dependent and IRS-2-dependent PI 3-kinase activation was not appreciably compromised. Most interestingly, direct in vitro activation of aPKCs by PI-3,4,5-(PO(4))(3), the lipid product of PI 3-kinase, was impaired in both high-fat-fed and STZ-diabetic rats. Defects in activation of aPKCs by insulin and PI-3,4,5-(PO(4))(3) could not be explained by diminished PDK-1-dependent phosphorylation of threonine-410 in the PKC-zeta activation loop, as this phosphorylation was increased even in the absence of insulin treatment in high-fat-fed rats.
Conclusions: 1) muscle aPKCs are activated at relatively low, presumably physiological, as well as higher supraphysiological, insulin concentrations; 2) aPKC activation is defective in muscles of high-fat-fed and STZ-diabetic rats; and 3) defective aPKC activation in these states is at least partly due to impaired responsiveness to PI-3,4,5-(PO(4))(3), apparently at activation steps distal to PDK-1-dependent loop phosphorylation.