Action of insulin in rat adipocytes and membrane properties
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Several small peptides inhibit insulin-promoted glucose uptake in rat adipocytes. At 10 microM peptide concentration, the extent of their inhibition of the insulin effect is related to the ability of these peptides to raise the bilayer- to hexagonal-phase transition temperature in model membranes. Hexane and DL-threo-dihydrosphingosine lower this phase transition temperature in model membranes, and they promote glucose uptake in adipocytes. There is thus an empirical relationship between the action of membrane additives on glucose uptake in adipocytes and their effect on the hexagonal-phase-forming tendency in model membranes. The most potent of the bilayer-stabilizing peptides tested in this work is carbobenzoxy-D-Phe-L-Phe-Gly. This peptide also inhibits insulin-stimulated protein synthesis in adipocytes. In contrast, DL-threo-dihydrosphingosine stimulates protein synthesis. The uptake of [125I]iodoinsulin by adipocytes is inhibited by carbobenzoxy-D-Phe-L-Phe-Gly. The mechanism of action of the bilayer-stabilizing peptides includes inhibition of insulin-dependent protein phosphorylation in adipocytes. The peptides are not specific inhibitors of a single function but are suggested to cause their effects by altering the physical properties of the membrane in a nonspecific manner. These results demonstrate that insulin-dependent functions of rat adipocytes can be modified by membrane additives in a manner predictable from the properties of these additives in model membranes.
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