Sequential in vivo labeling of insulin secretory granule pools in INS- SNAP transgenic pigs

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Sep 14;118(37):e2107665118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2107665118.


β cells produce, store, and secrete insulin upon elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin secretion is a highly regulated process. The probability for insulin secretory granules to undergo fusion with the plasma membrane or being degraded is correlated with their age. However, the molecular features and stimuli connected to this behavior have not yet been fully understood. Furthermore, our understanding of β cell function is mostly derived from studies of ex vivo isolated islets in rodent models. To overcome this translational gap and study insulin secretory granule turnover in vivo, we have generated a transgenic pig model with the SNAP-tag fused to insulin. We demonstrate the correct targeting and processing of the tagged insulin and normal glycemic control of the pig model. Furthermore, we show specific single- and dual-color granular labeling of in vivo-labeled pig pancreas. This model may provide unprecedented insights into the in vivo insulin secretory granule behavior in an animal close to humans.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; insulin turnover; pig model; β cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Exocytosis
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Male
  • SNARE Proteins / metabolism*
  • Secretory Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Swine


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Insulin
  • SNARE Proteins
  • Glucose