Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 307-319

First online:

Mechanisms of nuclear translocation of insulin

  • Shuko HaradaAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Robert M. SmithAffiliated withInstitute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia
  • , Leonard JarettAffiliated withInstitute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia

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Insulin (Ins) and various other hormones and growth factors have been shown to be rapidly internalized and translocated to the cell nucleus. This review summarizes the mechanisms that are involved in the translocation of Ins to the nucleus, and discusses its possible role in Ins action, based on observations by the authors and others. Ins is internalized to endosomes by both receptor-mediated and fluid-phase endocytosis, the latter occurring only at high Ins concentrations. The authors recently demonstrated the caveolae are the primary cell membrane locations responsible for initiating the signal transduction cascade induced by Ins. Once Ins is internalized, Ins dissociates from the Ins receptor in the endosome, and is translocated to the cytoplasm, where most Ins is degraded by Ins-degrading enzyme (IDE), although how the polypeptides cross the lipid bilayer is unknown. Some Ins escapes the degradation and binds to cytosolic Ins-binding proteins (CIBPs), in addition to IDE. IDE and some CIBPs are known to be binding proteins for other hormones or their receptors, and are involved in gene regulation, suggesting physiological relevance of CIBPs in the signaling of Ins and other hormones. Ins is eventually translocated through the nuclear pore to the nucleus, where Ins tightly associates with nuclear matrix. The role of Ins internalization and translocation to the nucleus is still controversial, although there is substantial evidence to support its role in cellular responses caused by Ins. Many studies indicate that nuclear translocation of various growth factors and hormones plays an important role in cell proliferation or DNA synthesis. It would be reasonable to suggest that tial for the regulation of nuclear events by Ins.

Index Entries

Insulin (Ins) Ins degradation translocation cytosolic Ins-binding proteins (CIBPs) Ins-degrading enzyme (IDE) cytoplasm