Cytoskeletal dependence of insulin granule movement dynamics in INS-1 beta-cells in response to glucose

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 13;9(10):e109082. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109082. eCollection 2014.


For pancreatic β-cells to secrete insulin in response to elevated blood glucose, insulin granules retained within the subplasmalemmal space must be transported to sites of secretion on the plasma membrane. Using a combination of super-resolution STORM imaging and live cell TIRF microscopy we investigate how the organization and dynamics of the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons in INS-1 β-cells contribute to this process. GFP-labeled insulin granules display 3 different modes of motion (stationary, diffusive-like, and directed). Diffusive-like motion dominates in basal, low glucose conditions. Upon glucose stimulation no gross rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton is observed but there are increases in the 1) rate of microtubule polymerization; 2) rate of diffusive-like motion; and 3) proportion of granules undergoing microtubule-based directed motion. By pharmacologically perturbing the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons, we determine that microtubule-dependent granule transport occurs within the subplasmalemmal space and that the actin cytoskeleton limits this transport in basal conditions, when insulin secretion needs to be inhibited.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / drug effects
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Exocytosis / drug effects
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Secretory Vesicles / drug effects
  • Secretory Vesicles / metabolism*


  • Insulin
  • Glucose