Isolation of state-dependent monoclonal antibodies against the 12-transmembrane domain glucose transporter 4 using virus-like particles

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 May 29;115(22):E4990-E4999. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1716788115. Epub 2018 May 16.


The insulin-responsive 12-transmembrane transporter GLUT4 changes conformation between an inward-open state and an outward-open state to actively facilitate cellular glucose uptake. Because of the difficulties of generating conformational mAbs against complex and highly conserved membrane proteins, no reliable tools exist to measure GLUT4 at the cell surface, follow its trafficking, or detect the conformational state of the protein. Here we report the isolation and characterization of conformational mAbs that recognize the extracellular and intracellular domains of GLUT4, including mAbs that are specific for the inward-open and outward-open states of GLUT4. mAbs against GLUT4 were generated using virus-like particles to present this complex membrane protein in its native conformation and using a divergent host species (chicken) for immunization to overcome immune tolerance. As a result, the isolated mAbs recognize conformational epitopes on native GLUT4 in cells, with apparent affinities as high as 1 pM and with specificity for GLUT4 across the human membrane proteome. Epitope mapping using shotgun mutagenesis alanine scanning across the 509 amino acids of GLUT4 identified the binding epitopes for mAbs specific for the states of GLUT4 and allowed the comprehensive identification of the residues that functionally control the GLUT4 inward-open and outward-open states. The mAbs identified here will be valuable molecular tools for monitoring GLUT4 structure, function, and trafficking, for differentiating GLUT4 conformational states, and for the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of diabetes.

Keywords: GLUT4; chicken; lipoparticles; monoclonal antibody; phage display.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism*
  • Chickens
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / chemistry
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / immunology*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Leukemia Virus, Murine / genetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Domains
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle / chemistry
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • SLC2A4 protein, human
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle