Insulin vesicle release: walk, kiss, pause ... then run

Physiology (Bethesda). 2006 Jun;21:189-96. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00002.2006.


The mechanisms by which insulin-containing dense core secretory vesicles approach and finally fuse with the plasma membrane are of considerable current interest: defects in these processes may be one of the contributing factors to Type 2 diabetes. In this review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in vesicle trafficking within the pancreatic beta-cell and the mechanisms whereby these may be regulated. We then go on to describe recent evidence that suggests that vesicle fusion at the plasma membrane is a partly reversible process ("kiss and run" or "cavity recapture"). We propose that vesicles may participate in a exo-endocytotic cycle in which a proportion of those that have already undergone an interaction with the plasma membrane may exchange exocytotic machinery with maturing vesicles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Secretory Vesicles / metabolism*


  • Insulin