Insulin-stimulated GLUT4 protein translocation in adipocytes requires the Rab10 guanine nucleotide exchange factor Dennd4C

J Biol Chem. 2011 May 13;286(19):16541-5. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C111.228908. Epub 2011 Mar 22.


Insulin-stimulated translocation of the glucose transporter GLUT4 to the cell surface in fat and muscle cells is the basis for insulin-stimulated glucose transport. Studies in adipocytes strongly support the following molecular mechanism for this process. Insulin-elicited phosphorylation of the GTPase-activating protein TBC1D4 (AS160) suppresses its activity toward Rab10 and thereby leads to an increase in the GTP-bound form of Rab10, which in turn triggers movement of vesicles containing GLUT4 to the plasma membrane and their fusion with the membrane. This process is expected to require the participation of a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) to generate the GTP-bound form of Rab10, but this GEF has not hitherto been identified. The present study identifies Dennd4C, a recently described GEF for Rab10, as the primary GEF required for GLUT4 translocation. Knockdown of Dennd4C markedly inhibited GLUT4 translocation, and ectopic expression of Dennd4C slightly stimulated it. Dennd4C was found in isolated GLUT4 vesicles. This study thus identifies another key component in the machinery of GLUT4 translocation. Moreover, it provides a potential explanation for the moderate association of a variant in the Dennd4C gene with type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / chemistry*
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / physiology*
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Insulin / chemistry*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Transport
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / chemistry*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Dennd4C protein, human
  • Dennd4C protein, mouse
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Insulin
  • Guanosine Triphosphate
  • Rab10 protein, human
  • Rab10 protein, mouse
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Glucose