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Despite daily fasting and feeding, plasma glucose levels are normally maintained within a narrow range owing to the hormones insulin and glucagon. Insulin increases glucose uptake into fat and muscle cells through the regulated trafficking of vesicles that contain glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4). New insights into insulin signalling reveal that phosphorylation events initiated by the insulin receptor regulate key GLUT4 trafficking proteins, including small GTPases, tethering complexes and the vesicle fusion machinery. These proteins, in turn, control GLUT4 movement through the endosomal system, formation and retention of specialized GLUT4 storage vesicles and targeted exocytosis of these vesicles. Understanding these processes may help to explain the development of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and provide new potential therapeutic targets.


Dara Leto, Alan R Saltiel. Regulation of glucose transport by insulin: traffic control of GLUT4. Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology. 2012 Jun;13(6):383-96

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PMID: 22617471

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