The sugar is sIRVed: sorting Glut4 and its fellow travelers

Traffic. 2011 Jun;12(6):665-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2011.01175.x. Epub 2011 Mar 15.


Translocation of Glut4 to the plasma membrane of fat and skeletal muscle cells is mediated by specialized insulin-responsive vesicles (IRVs), whose protein composition consists primarily of glucose transporter isoform 4 (Glut4), insulin-responsive amino peptidase (IRAP), sortilin, lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) and v-SNAREs. How can these proteins find each other in the cell and form functional vesicles after endocytosis from the plasma membrane? We are proposing a model according to which the IRV component proteins are internalized into sorting endosomes and are delivered to the IRV donor compartment(s), recycling endosomes and/or the trans-Golgi network (TGN), by cellugyrin-positive transport vesicles. The cytoplasmic tails of Glut4, IRAP, LRP1 and sortilin play an important targeting role in this process. Once these proteins arrive in the donor compartment, they interact with each other via their lumenal domains. This facilitates clustering of the IRV proteins into an oligomeric complex, which can then be distributed from the donor membranes to the IRV as a single entity with the help of adaptors, such as Golgi-localized, gamma-adaptin ear-containing, ARF-binding (GGA).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cystinyl Aminopeptidase / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / metabolism*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • LDL-Receptor Related Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Transport Vesicles / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin
  • LDL-Receptor Related Proteins
  • Cystinyl Aminopeptidase
  • leucyl-cystinyl aminopeptidase
  • sortilin