The effects of myo-inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) on Ca2+ uptake and release from isolated adipocyte endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane vesicles were investigated. Effects of IP3 were initially characterized using an endoplasmic reticulum preparation with cytosol present (S1-ER). Maximal and half-maximal effects of IP3 on Ca2+ release from S1-ER vesicles occurred at 20 microM- and 7 microM-IP3, respectively, in the presence of vanadate which prevents the re-uptake of released Ca2+ via the endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ pump. At saturating IP3 concentrations, Ca2+ release in the presence of vanadate was 20% of the exchangeable Ca2+ pool. IP3-induced release of Ca2+ from S1-ER was dependent on extravesicular free Ca2+ concentration with maximal release occurring at 0.13 microM free Ca2+. At 20 microM-IP3 there was no effect on the initial rate of Ca2+ uptake by S1-ER. IP3 promoted Ca2+ release from isolated endoplasmic reticulum vesicles (cytosol not present) to a similar level as compared with S1-ER. Addition of cytosol to isolated endoplasmic reticulum vesicles did not affect IP3-induced Ca2+ release. The endoplasmic reticulum preparation was further fractionated into heavy and light vesicles by differential centrifugation. Interestingly, the heavy fraction, but not the light fraction, released Ca2+ when challenged with IP3. IP3 (20 microM) did not promote Ca2+ release from plasma membrane vesicles and had no effect on the (Ca2+ + Mg2+)-ATPase activity or on the initial rate of ATP-dependent Ca2+ uptake by these vesicles. These results support the concept that IP3 acts exclusively at the endoplasmic reticulum to promote Ca2+ release.

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