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Insulin secretory granules (SGs) mediate the regulated secretion of insulin, which is essential for glucose homeostasis. The basic machinery responsible for this regulated exocytosis consists of specific proteins present both at the plasma membrane and on insulin SGs. The protein composition of insulin SGs thus dictates their release properties, yet the mechanisms controlling insulin SG formation, which determine this molecular composition, remain poorly understood. VPS41, a component of the endolysosomal tethering homotypic fusion and vacuole protein sorting (HOPS) complex, was recently identified as a cytosolic factor involved in the formation of neuroendocrine and neuronal granules. We now find that VPS41 is required for insulin SG biogenesis and regulated insulin secretion. Loss of VPS41 in pancreatic β-cells leads to a reduction in insulin SG number, changes in their transmembrane protein composition, and defects in granule-regulated exocytosis. Exploring a human point mutation, identified in patients with neurological but no endocrine defects, we show that the effect on SG formation is independent of HOPS complex formation. Finally, we report that mice with a deletion of VPS41 specifically in β-cells develop diabetes due to severe depletion of insulin SG content and a defect in insulin secretion. In sum, our data demonstrate that VPS41 contributes to glucose homeostasis and metabolism. © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association.


Christian H Burns, Belinda Yau, Anjelica Rodriguez, Jenna Triplett, Drew Maslar, You Sun An, Reini E N van der Welle, Ross G Kossina, Max R Fisher, Gregory W Strout, Peter O Bayguinov, Tineke Veenendaal, David Chitayat, James A J Fitzpatrick, Judith Klumperman, Melkam A Kebede, Cedric S Asensio. Pancreatic β-Cell-Specific Deletion of VPS41 Causes Diabetes Due to Defects in Insulin Secretion. Diabetes. 2021 Feb;70(2):436-448

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PMID: 33168621

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