Protein acylation in the inhibition of insulin secretion by norepinephrine, somatostatin, galanin, and PGE2

Haiying Cheng, Susanne G. Straub, Geoffrey W.G. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The major physiological inhibitors of insulin secretion, norepinephrine, somatostatin, galanin, and prostaglandin E2, act via specific receptors that activate pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive G proteins. Four inhibitory mechanisms are known: 1) activation of ATP-sensitive K channels and repolarization of the β-cell; 2) inhibition of L-type Ca2+ channels; 3) decreased activity of adenylyl cyclase; and 4) inhibition of exocytosis at a "distal" site in stimulus-secretion coupling. We have examined the underlying mechanisms of inhibition at this distal site. In rat pancreatic islets, 2-bromopalmitate, cerulenin, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, all of which suppress protein acyltransferase activity, blocked the distal inhibitory effects of norepinephrine in a concentration-dependent manner. In contrast, control compounds such as palmitate, 16-hydroxypalmitate, and etomoxir, which do not block protein acylation, had no effect. Furthermore, 2-bromopalmitate also blocked the distal inhibitory actions of somatostatin, galanin, and prostaglandin E2. Importantly, neither 2-bromopalmitate nor cerulenin affected the action of norepinephrine to decrease cAMP production. We also examined the effects of norepinephrine, 2-bromopalmitate, and cerulenin on palmitate metabolism. Palmitate oxidation and its incorporation into lipids seemed not to contribute to the effects of 2-bromopalmitate and cerulenin on norepinephrine action. These data suggest that protein acylation mediates the distal inhibitory effect on insulin secretion. We propose that the inhibitors of insulin secretion, acting via PTX-sensitive G proteins, activate a specific protein acyltransferase, causing the acylation of a protein or proteins critical to exocytosis. This particular acylation and subsequent disruption of the essential and precise interactions involved in core complex formation would block exocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E287-E294
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 48-2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • G proteins
  • Pertussis toxin
  • Rat pancreatic islets
  • Signaling
  • β-cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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