The subcellular fractionation properties and function of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) are independent of cytoskeletal integrity

Elaine C Thomas, Yang Zhe, Juan Carlos Molero, Carsten Schmitz-Peiffer, Georg Ramm, David E James, Jonathan P Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient insulin action requires spatial and temporal coordination of signaling cascades. The prototypical insulin receptor substrate, IRS-1 plays a central role in insulin signaling. By subcellular fractionation IRS-1 is enriched in a particulate fraction, termed the high speed pellet (HSP), and its redistribution from this fraction is associated with signal attenuation and insulin resistance. Anecdotal evidence suggests the cytoskeleton may underpin the localization of IRS-1 to the HSP. In the present study we have taken a systematic approach to examine whether the cytoskeleton contributes to the subcellular fractionation properties and function of IRS-1. By standard microscopy or immunoprecipitation we were unable to detect evidence to support a specific interaction between IRS-1 and the major cytoskeletal components actin (microfilaments), vimentin (intermediate filaments), and tubulin (microtubules) in 3T3-L1 adipocytes or in CHO.IR.IRS-1 cells. Pharmacological disruption of microfilaments and microtubules, individually or in combination, was without effect on the subcellular distribution of IRS-1 or insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation in either cell type. Phosphorylation of Akt was modestly reduced (20-35%) in 3T3-L1 adipocytes but not in CHO.IR.IRS-1 cells. In cells lacking intermediate filaments (Vim(-/-)) IRS-1 expression, distribution and insulin-stimulated phosphorylation appeared normal. Even after depolymerisation of microfilaments and microtubules, insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IRS-1 and Akt were maintained in Vim(-/-) cells. Taken together these data indicate that the characteristic subcellular fractionation properties and function of IRS-1 are unlikely to be mediated by cytoskeletal networks and that proximal insulin signaling does not require an intact cytoskeleton.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1686-99
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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