Internalization of insulin and its receptor in the isolated rat adipose cell. Time-course and insulin concentration dependency

Ole Sonne, Ian Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The time-course and insulin concentration dependency of internalization of insulin and its receptor have been examined in isolated rat adipose cells at 37°C. The internalization of insulin was assessed by examining the subcellular distribution of cell-associated [125I]insulin among plasma membrane, and high-density (endoplasmic reticulum-enriched) and low-density (Golgi-enriched) microsomal membrane fractions prepared by differential ultracentrifugation. The distribution of receptors was measured by the steady-state exchange binding of fresh [125I]insulin to these same membrane fractions. At 37°C, insulin binding to intact cells is accompanied initially by the rapid appearance of intact insulin in the plasma membrane fraction, and subsequently, by its rapid appearance in both the high-density and low-density microsomal membrane fractions. An apparent steady-state distribution of insulin per mg of membrane protein among these subcellular fractions is achieved within 30 min in a ratio of 1:1.54:0.80, respectively. Concomitantly, insulin binding to intact cells is associated with the rapid disappearance of approx. 30% of the insulin receptors initially present in the plasma membrane fraction and appearance of 20-30% of those lost in the low-density microsomal membrane fraction. However, the number of receptors in the high-density microsomal membrane fraction does not change. This redistribution of receptors also appears to reach a steady-state within 30 min. Both processes are insulin concentration-dependent, correlating with receptor occupancy in the intact cell, and are partially inhibited at 16°C. While the steady-state subcellular distributions of insulin and its receptor do not correlate with that of acid phosphatase, chloroquine markedly increases the levels of insulin associated with all three membrane fractions in apparent proportion to the distribution of this lysosomal marker enzyme activity, without more than marginally potentiating insulin's effects on the distribution of receptors. These results demonstrate that insulin, initially bound to the plasma membrane of the isolated rat adipose cell, is rapidly translocated by a receptor-mediated process into at least two intracellular compartments associated with the cell's high- and low-density microsomes. Furthermore, insulin simultaneously induces the translocation of its own receptor from the plasma membrane into the latter compartment. These translocations appear to represent the internalization and partial dissociation of the insulin-receptor complex through insulin-induced receptor cycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-413
Number of pages10
JournalBBA - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 17 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Internalization of insulin and its receptor in the isolated rat adipose cell. Time-course and insulin concentration dependency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this