Activation of protein kinases and inhibition of protein phosphatases play a central role in the regulation of exocytosis in mouse pancreatic beta cells.
Ammälä C., Eliasson L., Bokvist K., Berggren PO., Honkanen RE., Sjöholm A., Rorsman P.
The mechanisms that regulate insulin secretion were investigated using capacitance measurements of exocytosis in single beta cells maintained in tissue culture. Exocytosis was stimulated by voltage-clamp depolarizations to activate the voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels that mediate Ca2+ influx into the beta cell. Under basal conditions, the exocytotic responses were small despite large Ca2+ currents. The exocytotic responses were dramatically increased (10- to 20-fold) by conditions that promote protein phosphorylation, such as activation of protein kinases A and C or inhibition of protein phosphatases. The stimulation of secretion was not due to an enhancement of Ca2+ influx and both peak and integrated Ca2+ currents were largely unaffected. Our data indicate that exocytosis in the insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cell is determined by a balance between protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation. They further suggest that although Ca2+ is required for the initiation of exocytosis, modulation of exocytosis by protein kinases and phosphatases, at a step distal to the elevation of Ca2+, is of much greater quantitative importance. Thus an elevation of Ca2+ may represent a permissive rather than a decisive factor in the regulation of the insulin secretory process.