The pancreatic hormone insulin is a key hormone in maintenance of metabolic homeostasis but it also exerts control on gene expression and cell growth. This thesis presents results on fhe role of caveolae in insulin signalling in human and rat adipocytes. Caveolae are invaginations of the plasma membrane, characterised by the structural protein caveolin. Caveolae and caveolin have been implicated in a variety of functions, like uptake of molecular cargo into the cell, cholesterol transport and signal transduction. After isolation of caveolae and using electron microscopy on cell membranes, the insulin receptor was demonstrated to be localised in caveolae of human adipocytes. We also used biochemical and morphological methods to show that the glucose transporter GLUT4 was translocated to caveolae in response to insulin in rat adipocytes, indicating fhat the caveola is the locale for glucose uptake in adipocytes.
Adipocytes fhat were depleted of cholesterol using ß-cyclodextrin lacked caveolae invaginations. In cells fhus depleted of cholesterol and caveolae, fhe insulin receptor itself was not affected, but insulin signalling to metabolic control was inhibited. In rat adipocytes, insulin signalling to mitogenic control was not affected. In human fat cells, however, insulin's mitogenic signalling was dependent on caveolae/cholesterol. In contrast to other cells studied, including rat adipocytes, where the insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1) is mainly cytosolic, in human adipocytes IRS-1 was found in the plasma membrane and in caveolae. These results show the importance of choosing the relevant system to work with, since there are clear species differences.
We performed an analysis of the lipid composition of purified caveolae from rat adipocytes. As expected, cholesterol constitutes a major part of caveolae, but there is also an enrichment of sphingomyelin and the gangliosides GM1, GM3, GD3 and GD1a, while there is less protein, compared to the surrounding plasma membrane.
Taken together, caveolae appear as hnbs for insulin signalling. Caveolae seem necessary for fhe maintenance of metabolic signalling, like glucose uptake, and defects in caveolae may thus be the cause of insulin resistance.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2003. , 54 p.