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The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is required for cell type segregation during pancreatic islet organogenesis. We have investigated the functional consequences of ablating NCAM on pancreatic beta-cell function. In vivo, NCAM(-/-) mice exhibit impaired glucose tolerance and basal hyperinsulinemia. Insulin secretion from isolated NCAM(-/-) islets is enhanced at glucose concentrations below 15 mM but inhibited at higher concentrations. Glucagon secretion from pancreatic alpha-cells evoked by low glucose was also severely impaired in NCAM(-/-) islets. The diminution of insulin secretion is not attributable to defective glucose metabolism or glucose sensing (documented as glucose-induced changes in intracellular Ca(2+) and K(ATP)-channel activity). Resting K(ATP) conductance was lower in NCAM(-/-) beta-cells than wild-type cells, and this difference was abolished when F-actin was disrupted by cytochalasin D (1 muM). In wild-type beta-cells, the submembrane actin network disassembles within 10 min during glucose stimulation (30 mM), an effect not seen in NCAM(-/-) beta-cells. Cytochalasin D eliminated this difference and normalized insulin and glucagon secretion in NCAM(-/-) islets. Capacitance measurements of exocytosis indicate that replenishment of the readily releasable granule pool is suppressed in NCAM(-/-) alpha- and beta-cells. Our data suggest that remodeling of the submembrane actin network is critical to normal glucose regulation of both insulin and glucagon secretion.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





3067 - 3075


Actins, Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Exocytosis, Female, Glucagon, Glucose, Glucose Intolerance, Insulin, Insulin Secretion, Islets of Langerhans, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying