Succinate is a preferential metabolic stimulus-coupling signal for glucose-induced proinsulin biosynthesis translation

Cristina Alarcon, Barton Wicksteed, Marc Prentki, Barbara E. Corkey, Christopher J. Rhodes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations


The secondary signals emanating from increased glucose metabolism, which lead to specific increases in proinsulin biosynthesis translation, remain elusive. It is known that signals for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and proinsulin biosynthesis diverge downstream of glycolysis. Consequently, the mitochondrial products ATP, Krebs cycle intermediates, glutamate, and acetoacetate were investigated as candidate stimulus-coupling signals specific for glucose-induced proinsulin biosynthesis in rat islets. Decreasing ATP levels by oxidative phosphorylation inhibitors showed comparable effects on proinsulin biosynthesis and total protein synthesis. Although it is a cofactor, ATP is unlikely to be a metabolic stimulus-coupling signal specific for glucose-induced proinsulin biosynthesis. Neither glutamic acid methyl ester nor acetoacetic acid methyl ester showed a specific effect on glucose-stimulated proinsulin biosynthesis. Interestingly, among Krebs cycle intermediates, only succinic acid monomethyl ester specifically stimulated proinsulin biosynthesis. Malonic acid methyl ester, an inhibitor of succinate dehydrogenase, also specifically increased glucose-induced proinsulin biosynthesis without affecting islet ATP levels or insulin secretion. Glucose caused a 40% increase in islet intracellular succinate levels, but malonic acid methyl ester showed no further effect, probably due to efficient conversion of succinate to succinyl-CoA. In this regard, a GTP-dependent succinyl-CoA synthetase activity was found in cytosolic fractions of pancreatic islets. Thus, succinate and/or succinyl-CoA appear to be preferential metabolic stimulus-coupling factors for glucose-induced proinsulin biosynthesis translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2496-2504
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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