Insulin-mimetic actions of wheat germ agglutinin and concanavalin A on specific mRNA levels

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1987 Apr;254(1):110-5. doi: 10.1016/0003-9861(87)90086-5.


Insulin has pleiotropic effects on sensitive cells, including the regulation of specific mRNA accumulation initiated by the binding of insulin to its plasma membrane receptor. Lectins, such as wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) and concanavalin A (Con A), are known to be insulin mimetic. It is thought that WGA and Con A interact with the insulin receptor or associated membrane glycoproteins which, when activated, lead to insulin-mimetic responses. We attempted to determine whether WGA and Con A could induce the accumulation of a specific messenger RNA (p33-mRNA). Insulin treatment of H4IIE (H4) hepatoma cells increased the concentration of p33-mRNA within 30 min after addition, with a maximum effect of 10- to 15-fold. WGA and Con A also exhibited time- and dose-dependent stimulatory effects on p33-mRNA accumulation with maximal effects of 30- to 40-fold. The effect of insulin was maximal by 1 h and plateaued thereafter, whereas lectins had maximal effects at 2 h after addition to cell cultures. Insulin, WGA, and Con A did not significantly alter the stability (half-life) of p33-mRNA. The addition of RNA synthesis inhibitors blocked the ability of insulin, WGA, and Con A to induce the amount of p33-mRNA. These data suggest that lectins, as well as insulin, induce the synthesis of p33-mRNA in acutely treated H4 hepatoma cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Concanavalin A / pharmacology*
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Kinetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / pharmacology*


  • Insulin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins
  • Concanavalin A
  • Dactinomycin