Insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation – size is not everything!

Bryant, Nia J. and Gould, Gwyn W. (2020) Insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation – size is not everything! Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 65. pp. 28-34. ISSN 0955-0674 (

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Insulin-regulated trafficking of the facilitative glucose transporter GLUT4 has been studied in many cell types. The translocation of GLUT4 from intracellular membranes to the cell surface is often described as a highly specialised form of membrane traffic restricted to certain cell types such as fat and muscle, which are the major storage depots for insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Here, we discuss evidence that favours the argument that rather than being restricted to specialised cell types, the machinery through which insulin regulates GLUT4 traffic is present in all cell types. This is an important point as it provides confidence in the use of experimentally tractable model systems to interrogate the trafficking itinerary of GLUT4.