Key points: Comprehensive imaging analyses of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) behaviour in mouse skeletal muscle was conducted. Quantum dot-based single molecule nanometry revealed that GLUT4 molecules in skeletal myofibres are governed by regulatory systems involving ‘static retention’ and ‘stimulus-dependent liberation’. Vital imaging analyses and super-resolution microscopy-based morphometry demonstrated that insulin liberates the GLUT4 molecule from its static state by triggering acute heterotypic endomembrane fusion arising from the very small GLUT4-containing vesicles in skeletal myofibres. Prior exposure to exercise-mimetic stimuli potentiated this insulin-responsive endomembrane fusion event involving GLUT4-containing vesicles, suggesting that this endomembranous regulation process is a potential site related to the effects of exercise. Abstract: Skeletal muscle is the major systemic glucose disposal site. Both insulin and exercise facilitate translocation of the glucose transporter glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) via distinct signalling pathways and exercise also enhances insulin sensitivity. However, the trafficking mechanisms controlling GLUT4 mobilization in skeletal muscle remain poorly understood as a resuly of technical limitations. In the present study, which employs various imaging techniques on isolated skeletal myofibres, we show that one of the initial triggers of insulin-induced GLUT4 translocation is heterotypic endomembrane fusion arising from very small static GLUT4-containing vesicles with a subset of transferrin receptor-containing endosomes. Importantly, pretreatment with exercise-mimetic stimuli potentiated the susceptibility to insulin responsiveness, as indicated by these acute endomembranous activities. We also found that AS160 exhibited stripe-like localization close to sarcomeric α-actinin and that insulin induced a reduction of the stripe-like localization accompanying changes in its detergent solubility. The results of the present study thus provide a conceptual framework indicating that GLUT4 protein trafficking via heterotypic fusion is a critical feature of GLUT4 translocation in skeletal muscles and also suggest that the efficacy of the endomembranous fusion process in response to insulin is involved in the benefits of exercise.
- heterotypic endomembrane fusion
- skeletal myofibers
ASJC Scopus subject areas