Wortmannin is a potent and reversible inhibitor of insulin-stimulated PtdIns 3-kinase activity in 3T3-L1 cells (IC50 = 2.6 +/- 0.8 nM). Wortmannin inhibits the PtdIns 3-kinase activity which is precipitated with antibodies against insulin receptor substrate 1 and against the alpha-p85 subunit of PtdIns 3-kinase. These observations suggest that wortmannin inhibits at the p110 catalytic subunit of PtdIns 3-kinase. Insulin stimulation of glucose transport in permeabilized 3T3-L1 cells is also inhibited by wortmannin (IC50 = 6.4 +/- 1.4 nM). Wortmannin did not inhibit basal glucose transport activity. The close similarity of the IC50 values for wortmannin inhibition of insulin-stimulated PtdIns 3-kinase and glucose transport activities suggests that the PtdIns 3-kinase is a key intermediate in insulin signalling of glucose-transport stimulation. The wortmannin inhibitory effect on transport is associated with a reduction in the cell-surface, but not the total cellular, levels of both GLUT1 and GLUT4 glucose transporter isoforms that are accessible to the cell-impermeant photolabel, ATB-BMPA. These photolabelling results suggest that the glucose transporter translocation process is dependent upon PtdIns 3-kinase activity. The stimulatory effect of guanosine 5′-[gamma-thio]triphosphate (GTP gamma S) on glucose transport activity in permeabilized cells is only partially blocked by concentrations of wortmannin that completely inhibit the stimulatory effect of insulin. The residual stimulatory effect of GTP gamma S that occurs in the presence of wortmannin suggests that at least part of the GTP gamma S effect is mediated at a signalling site that is downstream of the site at which wortmannin inhibits the insulin stimulation of PtdIns 3-kinase and glucose transport activities.

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