Insulin signalling: putting the 'G-' in protein-protein interactions

Biochem J. 2004 Jun 15;380(Pt 3):e11-2. doi: 10.1042/BJ20040619.


Cell signalling via receptor tyrosine kinases, such as the insulin receptor, and via heterotrimeric G-proteins, such as Galpha(i), Galpha(s) and Galpha(q) family members, constitute two of most avidly studied paradigms in cell biology. That elements of these two populous signalling pathways must cross-talk to achieve proper signalling in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation and metabolism has been anticipated, but the evolution of our thinking and the analysis of such cross-talk have lagged behind the ever-expanding troupe of players and the recognition of multivalency as the rule, rather than the exception, in signalling biology. New insights have been provided by Kreuzer et al. in this issue of the Biochemical Journal, in which insulin is shown to provoke recruitment of Galpha(i)-proteins to insulin-receptor-based complexes that can regulate the gain of insulin-receptor-catalysed autophosphorylation, a proximal point in the insulin-sensitive cascade of signalling. Understanding the convergence and cross-talk of signals from the receptor tyrosine kinases and G-protein-coupled receptor pathways in physical, spatial and temporal contexts will remain a major challenge of cell biology.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Insulin
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins