Regulation of resident and newcomer insulin granules by calcium and SNARE proteins

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jan 1;16:1197-210. doi: 10.2741/3784.


Insulin, stored in large dense core granules, is biphasically exocytosed by glucose stimulation in pancreatic beta-cells. Several molecules, such as SNARE proteins, and Ca2+ ion are involved in the regulation of insulin exocytosis. Indeed, studies using gene targeting mice revealed critical roles of SNARE proteins and their accessory proteins, which may be associated with diabetes mellitus. In particular, the total internal reflection fluorescent (TIRF) imaging technique shed new light on the molecular mechanism of the insulin exocytotic process. In this review we discuss the mechanism of insulin exocytosis mainly from a point of view of imaging techniques.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism*
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase / metabolism
  • SNARE Proteins / physiology*
  • Secretory Vesicles / metabolism
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • SNARE Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • Calcium