In pancreatic β-cells, glucose-induced mitochondrial ATP production plays an important role in insulin secretion. The mitochondrial phosphate carrier PiC is a member of the SLC25 (solute carrier family 25) family and transports Pi from the cytosol into the mitochondrial matrix. Since intramitochondrial Pi is an essential substrate for mitochondrial ATP production by complex V (ATP synthase) and affects the activity of the respiratory chain, Pi transport via PiC may be a rate-limiting step for ATP production. We evaluated the role of PiC in metabolism–secretion coupling in pancreatic β-cells using INS-1 cells manipulated to reduce PiC expression by siRNA (small interfering RNA). Consequent reduction of the PiC protein level decreased glucose (10 mM)-stimulated insulin secretion, the ATP:ADP ratio in the presence of 10 mM glucose and elevation of intracellular calcium concentration in response to 10 mM glucose without affecting the mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) in INS-1 cells. In experiments using the mitochondrial fraction of INS-1 cells in the presence of 1 mM succinate, PiC down-regulation decreased ATP production at various Pi concentrations ranging from 0.001 to 10 mM, but did not affect Δψm at 3 mM Pi. In conclusion, the Pi supply to mitochondria via PiC plays a critical role in ATP production and metabolism–secretion coupling in INS-1 cells.

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