Role of Rab5 in insulin receptor-mediated endocytosis and signaling

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2006 May 15;449(1-2):130-42. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2006 Mar 3.


Activated insulin receptors recruit various intracellular proteins leading to signal generation and endocytic trafficking. Although activated receptors are rapidly internalized into the endocytic compartment and subsequently degraded in lysosomes, the linkage between insulin receptor signaling and endocytosis is not well understood. This study utilizes both overexpression and depletion of Rab5 proteins to show that they play a critical role in both insulin-stimulated fluid phase and receptor-mediated endocytosis. Specifically, Rab5:WT and Rab5:Q79L (a GTP-hydrolysis defective mutant) enhance both types of endocytosis in response to insulin, while Rab5:S34N (a GTP-binding defective mutant) has the opposite effect. Morphological analysis indicates that both Rab5 and insulin receptor are found on early endosomes, but not at the plasma membrane. In addition, expression of Rab5:WT and Rab5:Q79L enhance both Erk1/2 and Akt activation without affecting JN- and p38-kinase activities, while the expression of Rab5:S34N blocks both Erk1/2 and Akt activation. Consistent with these observations, DNA synthesis is also altered by the expression of Rab5:S34N. Taken together, these results demonstrate that Rab5 is required for insulin receptor membrane trafficking and signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Receptor, Insulin
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins