The present study was conducted to examine the ability of insulin receptor to activate the calcium signaling system in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells expressing human insulin receptor (CHO-IR cells). In these cells, insulin evoked the elevation of cytoplasmic free calcium concentration, [Ca2+]c, measured by using fura-2. Insulin-induced increase in [Ca2+]c was blocked by reducing the extracellular calcium concentration to 1μ m or by adding nickel chloride, an inorganic inhibitor of calcium entry. Insulin did not elevate[ Ca2+]c in parental CHO cells or in CHO cells expressing mutant insulin receptor lacking an ATP-binding site. When the transmembrane calcium current was measured by perforated whole-cell patch clamp, adding insulin to the bath solution markedly augmented the inward calcium current. In a cell-attached patch, a single channel activity appeared when insulin was included in the pipette. In contrast, insulin added outside the patch was ineffective. The current/voltage relationship demonstrated that insulin activated a voltage-independent calcium-permeable cation channel with a single-channel conductance of 10 pS. Exposing CHO-IR cells to pertussis toxin abolished the subsequent insulin effect on[ Ca2+]c and activation of the calcium-permeable channel. Mastoparan activated the 10-pS calcium-permeable cation channel. In an inside-out patch, insulin activated the calcium-permeable channel when the bath solution contained both GTP and ATP. Nonhydrolyzable ATP could substitute for ATP. These results indicate that in CHO-IR cells, insulin elevates[ Ca2+]c by activating the 10-pS calcium-permeable cation channel. Activation by the insulin receptor involves pertussis toxin-sensitive G protein.
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