The spatial dynamics of insulin-regulated GLUT4 dispersal

Koester, Anna Magdalena (2021) The spatial dynamics of insulin-regulated GLUT4 dispersal. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Insulin regulates glucose homeostasis by stimulation of glucose transport into adipose and muscle tissues through the regulated trafficking of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4). In response to insulin GLUT4 rapidly translocates from intracellular storage sites to the plasma membrane where it facilitates glucose uptake. Significant impairments in glucose transport and GLUT4 trafficking are a major hallmark of diabetes mellitus type II. Recent advances in light microscopy techniques enabled the study of GLUT4 dynamics in the plasma membrane and it was reported that the transporter was clustered in the basal state and insulin stimulation resulted in GLUT4 dispersal.
The main aim of this study was to develop a microscopy-based assay to study and quantify insulin-stimulated GLUT4 dispersal dynamics in the plasma membrane. Insulin-stimulated GLUT4 dispersal has only been observed in adipocytes and therefore we have chosen this model as a starting point to investigate the molecular mechanisms behind GLUT4 clustering and dispersal. We explored a range of cluster analysis methods to find the most suitable way to quantify GLUT4 clustering dynamics. Furthermore, this project aimed to optimise super resolution imaging in a variety of cell culture models to determine whether insulin-stimulated GLUT4 dispersal operates in skeletal and cardiac muscle and whether this process is affected by disease.
Using a range of approaches we showed that insulin results in GLUT4 translocation and dispersal within the plasma membrane of 3T3-L1 adipocytes. We found that AMPK activation attenuated insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and also GLUT4 dispersal. It was observed that cholesterol depletion resulted in increased glucose uptake rates and GLUT4 clustering. Knock down of the membrane-localised protein EFR3 that has previously been shown to be involved in glucose uptake resulted in disruption of GLUT4 dispersal in adipocytes. We also found that HeLa cells show similar insulin-stimulated GLUT4 dispersal as adipocytes and suggest that HeLa cells are a suitable experimental model for initial studies of GLUT4 trafficking and dispersal. Chronic insulin treatment was observed to induce a state of cellular insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and resulted in reduced GLUT4 translocation and a more clustered GLUT4 configuration for both basal and insulin-stimulated cells. This indicates that insulin resistance affects intracellular GLUT4 trafficking pathways as well as the organization of the transporter within the plasma membrane in adipocytes. Moreover, we found a negative correlation between adipocyte cell area and insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation.
We also report that insulin did not stimulate the reorganisation of the transferrin receptor in the plasma membrane of HeLa cells suggesting that insulin-stimulated GLUT4 dispersal did not originate from endosomal compartments in HeLa cells and that this observed effect may be specific for GLUT4. Finally, we observed that insulin did not affect GLUT4 distribution in the membrane of a commercially available model of skeletal muscle from healthy and diabetic donors. Sortilin is a sorting receptor involved in the formation of GLUT4 containing vesicles and levels of this protein were found to be reduced in skeletal muscle myotubes derived from a diabetic donor.
Finally, we discovered that insulin stimulated GLUT4 dispersal also operates in stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and have investigated GLUT4 dispersal in a variety of in vitro models of cardiac muscle tissue.
Taken together, this thesis has detailed several novel findings regarding the regulation of GLUT4 clustering in adipose and muscle tissues. A robust assay to measure GLUT4 dispersal has been established and molecular mechanisms behind the observed GLUT4 clustering dynamics have been described in adipocytes. Furthermore GLUT4 clustering was characterised in several cell culture models of skeletal and cardiac muscle for the first time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Diabetes, insulin resistance, GLUT4, glucose transport, membrane dynamics, super resolution microscopy, imaging, cluster analysis, membrane organisation, adipocytes, cardiomyocytes, insulin signalling, TIRF, STORM, iPSC, stem cells
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QP Physiology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Molecular Biosciences
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Funder's Name: British Heart Foundation (BHF)
Supervisor's Name: Gould, Prof. Gwyn and Smith, Prof. Godfrey and Gadegaard, Prof. Nikolaj
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: PhD Anna Magdalena Koester
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82077
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 09:55
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2022 10:46
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82077

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