Protein kinase B/Akt participates in GLUT4 translocation by insulin in L6 myoblasts

Qinghua Wang, Romel Somwar, Philip J. Bilan, Zhi Liu, Jing Jin, James R. Woodgett, Amira Klip*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

497 Scopus citations


L6 myoblasts stably transfected with a GLUT4 cDNA harboring an exofacial myc epitope tag (L6-GLUT4myc myoblasts) were used to study the role of protein kinase B alpha (PKBα)/Akt1 in the insulin-induced translocation of GLUT4 to the cell surface. Surface GLUT4myc was detected by immunofluorescent labeling of the myc epitope in nonpermeabilized cells. Insulin induced a marked translocation of GLUT4myc to the plasma membrane within 20 min. This was prevented by transient transfection of a dominant inhibitory construct of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase (Δp85α). Transiently transfected cells were identified by cotransfection of green fluorescent protein. A constitutively active PKBα, created by fusion of a viral Gag protein at its N terminus (GagPKB), increased the cell surface density of GLUT4myc compared to that of neighboring nontransfected cells. A kinase-inactive, phosphorylation-deficient PKBα/Akt1 construct with the mutations K179A (substitution of alanine for the lysine at position 179), T308A, and S473A (AAA-PKB) behaved as a dominant-negative inhibitor of insulin-dependent activation of cotransfected wild-type hemagglutinin (HA)-tagged PKB. Furthermore, AAA-PKB markedly inhibited the insulin-induced phosphorylation of cotransfected BAD, demonstrating inhibition of the endogenous PKB/Akt. Under the same conditions, AAA-PKB almost entirely blocked the insulin- dependent increase in surface GLUT4myc. PKBα with alanine substitutions T308A and S473A (AA-PKB) or K179A (A-PKB) alone was a less potent inhibitor of insulin-dependent activation of wild-type HA-PKB or GLUT4myc translocation than was AAA-PKB. Cotransfection of AAA-PKB with a fourfold DNA excess of HA- PKB rescued insulin-stimulated GLUT4myc translocation. AAA-PKB did not prevent actin bundling (membrane ruffling), though this response was PI 3- kinase dependent. Therefore, it is unlikely that AAA-PKB acted by inhibiting PI 3-kinase signaling. These results outline an important role for PKBα/Akt1 in the stimulation of glucose transport by insulin in muscle cells in culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4008-4018
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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