GLUT4 On the move.
Insulin rapidly stimulates GLUT4 translocation and glucose transport in fat and muscle cells. Signals from the occupied insulin receptor are translated into downstream signalling changes in serine/threonine kinases within timescales of seconds, and this is followed by delivery and accumulation of the glucose transporter GLUT4 at the plasma membrane. Kinetic studies have led to realisation that there are distinct phases of this stimulation by insulin. There is a rapid initial burst of GLUT4 delivered to the cell surface from a subcellular reservoir compartment and this is followed by a steady-state level of continuing stimulation in which GLUT4 recycles through a large itinerary of subcellular locations. Here, we provide an overview of the phases of insulin stimulation of GLUT4 translocation and the molecules that are currently considered to activate these trafficking steps. Furthermore, we suggest how use of new experimental approaches together with phospho-proteomic data may help to further identify mechanisms for activation of these trafficking processes.