Insulin and analogue effects on protein degradation in different cell types. Dissociation between binding and activity

Janet Fawcett, Frederick G. Hamel, Robert G. Bennett, Zoltan Vajo, William C. Duckworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In adult animals, the major effect of insulin on protein turnover is inhibition of protein degradation. Cellular protein degradation is under the control of multiple systems, including lysosomes, proteasomes, calpains, and giant protease. Insulin has been shown to alter proteasome activity in vitro and in vivo. We examined the inhibition of protein degradation by insulin and insulin analogues (LysB28,ProB29-insulin (LysPro), AspB10-insulin (B10), and GluB4,GlnB16,Phe B17-insulin (EQF)) in H4, HepG2, and L6 cells. These effects were compared with receptor binding. Protein degradation was examined by release of trichloroacetic acid-soluble radioactivity from cells previously labeled with [3H]leucine. Short- and intermediate-lived proteins were examined. H4 cells bound insulin with an EC50 of 4.6 × 10-9 M. LysPro was similar. The affinity of B10 was increased 2-fold; that of EQF decreased 15-fold. Protein degradation inhibition in H4 cells was highly sensitive to insulin (EC50 = 4.2 × 10-11 and 1.6 × 10-10 M, short- and intermediate-lived protein degradation, respectively) and analogues. Despite similar binding, LysPro was 11- to 18-fold more potent than insulin at inhibiting protein degradation. Conversely, although EQF showed lower binding to H4 cells than insulin, its action was similar. The relative binding potencies of analogues in HepG2 cells were similar to those in H4 cells. Examination of protein degradation showed insulin, LysPro, and B10 were equivalent while EQF was less potent. L6 cells showed no difference in the binding of the analogues compared with insulin, but their effect on protein degradation was similar to that seen in HepG2 cells except B10 inhibited intermediate-lived protein degradation better than insulin. These studies illustrate the complexities of cellular protein degradation and the effects of insulin. The effect of insulin and analogues on protein degradation vary significantly in different cell types and with different experimental conditions. The differences seen in the action of the analogues cannot be attributed to binding differences. Post-receptor mechanisms, including intracellular processing and degradation, must be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11552-11558
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 13 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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