Regulation of the insulin receptor kinase by hyperinsulinism

J. L. Treadway, J. Whittaker, J. E. Pessin

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29 Scopus citations


A murine fibroblast cell line transfected with human insulin receptor cDNA, NIH 3T3 HIR3.5, was observed to display insulin-induced down-regulation of insulin-binding activity in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Maximal inhibition of insulin-binding activity (54%) occurred within 16 h of exposure to 100 nM insulin in vivo, where in vivo refers to intact cells in tissue culture. The decrease in cellular insulin-binding activity was the consequence of a decrease in the number of cell-associated insulin receptors as determined by Scatchard analysis of insulin binding, 125I-insulin affinity cross-linking, and Western blotting of the insulin receptor β subunit. Acute insulin treatment in vivo (1-60 min) resulted in the activation of the insulin receptor protein tyrosine kinase as determined by in vitro phosphorylation of glutamic acid:tyrosine (4:1), where in vitro refers to broken cell preparations. This acute in vivo insulin activation of the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase resulted in a greater stimulation (1.4-1.9-fold) of tyrosine kinase activity in the glutamic acid:tyrosine (4:1) assay than the maximal stimulation produced by insulin treatment in vitro. In contrast, long term (24 h) insulin treatment in vivo resulted in a 50-70% decrease in intrinsic protein tyrosin kinase activity of the insulin receptors compared with that of acutely activated (1 min) insulin receptors. Under these conditions, the insulin receptor protein kinase activity remained insulin independent in the in vitro substrate kinase assay. Surprisingly, the insulin-independent activated (1 min in vivo insulin-treated) and uncoupled (24 h in vivo insulin-treated) insulin receptors displayed similar stoichiometries of 32P incorporation into the β subunit by in vitro autophosphorylation when compared with the control insulin receptors, ranging from 1.5 to 1.8 mol of phosphate incorporated/mol of insulin receptor. Phosphoamino acid analysis demonstrated that the phosphoserine/phosphothreonine content of in vivo 32P-labeled insulin receptors increased markedly within a 1-h exposure to insulin in vivo, whereas insulin-induced receptor desensitization was not apparent until 10-24 h after exposure to insulin. These data suggest that insulin treatment in vivo results initially in the activation of the insulin receptor kinase followed by a subsequent uncoupling of protein kinase activity. This insulin-induced desensitization of the insulin receptor kinase does not correlate with the extent of β subunit serine/threonine phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15136-15143
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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