Chapter 16 Insulin Granule Biogenesis, Trafficking and Exocytosis

June Chunqiu Hou, Le Min, Jeffrey E. Pessin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

158 Scopus citations


It is becoming increasingly apparent that beta cell dysfunction resulting in abnormal insulin secretion is the essential element in the progression of patients from a state of impaired glucose tolerance to frank type 2 diabetes (Del Prato, 2003; Del Prato and Tiengo, 2001). Although extensive studies have examined the molecular, cellular and physiologic mechanisms of insulin granule biogenesis, sorting, and exocytosis the precise mechanisms controlling these processes and their dysregulation in the developed of diabetes remains an area of important investigation. We now know that insulin biogenesis initiates with the synthesis of preproinsulin in rough endoplastic reticulum and conversion of preproinsulin to proinsulin. Proinsulin begins to be packaged in the Trans-Golgi Network and is sorting into immature secretory granules. These immature granules become acidic via ATP-dependent proton pump and proinsulin undergoes proteolytic cleavage resulting the formation of insulin and C-peptide. During the granule maturation process, insulin is crystallized with zinc and calcium in the form of dense-core granules and unwanted cargo and membrane proteins undergo selective retrograde trafficking to either the constitutive trafficking pathway for secretion or to degradative pathways. The newly formed mature dense-core insulin granules populate two different intracellular pools, the readily releasable pools (RRP) and the reserved pool. These two distinct populations are thought to be responsible for the biphasic nature of insulin release in which the RRP granules are associated with the plasma membrane and undergo an acute calcium-dependent release accounting for first phase insulin secretion. In contrast, second phase insulin secretion requires the trafficking of the reserved granule pool to the plasma membrane. The initial trigger for insulin granule fusion with the plasma membrane is a rise in intracellular calcium and in the case of glucose stimulation results from increased production of ATP, closure of the ATP-sensitive potassium channel and cellular depolarization. In turn, this opens voltage-dependent calcium channels allowing increased influx of extracellular calcium. Calcium is thought to bind to members of the fusion regulatory proteins synaptogamin that functionally repressors the fusion inhibitory protein complexin. Both complexin and synaptogamin interact as well as several other regulatory proteins interact with the core fusion machinery composed of the Q- or t-SNARE proteins syntaxin 1 and SNAP25 in the plasma membrane that assembles with the R- or v-SNARE protein VAMP2 in insulin granules. In this chapter we will review the current progress of insulin granule biogenesis, sorting, trafficking, exocytosis and signaling pathways that comprise the molecular basis of glucose-dependent insulin secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVitamins and Hormones
Number of pages34
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameVitamins and Hormones
ISSN (Print)0083-6729

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


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