Adipocytes are key to metabolic regulation, exhibiting insulin-stimulated glucose transport that is underpinned by the insulin-stimulated delivery of glucose transporter type 4 (SLC2A4, also known and hereafter referred to as GLUT4)-containing vesicles to the plasma membrane where they dock and fuse, and increase cell surface GLUT4 levels. Adipocytokines, such as adiponectin, are secreted via a similar mechanism. We used genome editing to knock out syntaxin-4, a protein reported to mediate fusion between GLUT4-containing vesicles and the plasma membrane in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Syntaxin-4 knockout reduced insulin-stimulated glucose transport and adiponectin secretion by ∼50% and reduced GLUT4 levels. Ectopic expression of haemagglutinin (HA)-tagged GLUT4 conjugated to GFP showed that syntaxin-4-knockout cells retain significant GLUT4 translocation capacity, demonstrating that syntaxin-4 is dispensable for insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation. Analysis of recycling kinetics revealed only a modest reduction in the exocytic rate of GLUT4 in knockout cells, and little effect on endocytosis. These analyses demonstrate that syntaxin-4 is not always rate limiting for GLUT4 delivery to the cell surface. In sum, we show that syntaxin-4 knockout results in reduced insulin-stimulated glucose transport, depletion of cellular GLUT4 levels and inhibition of adiponectin secretion but has only modest effects on the translocation capacity of the cells.
- membrane trafficking