The insulin-secretory response to glucose is defective in the RINm5F insulin-producing tumour cell line. Stable transfection with human low-affinity GLUT2 glucose-transporter cDNA revealed a significant improvement in stimulus-secretion coupling in these insulinoma cells. 3-O-Methylglucose uptake increased 10-fold in the concentration range 10-20 mM, whereas non-transfected control cells were unresponsive. Northern-blot analysis revealed a 7-fold increase in expression of the insulin gene in the GLUT2-transfected RINm5F cell clone T1. In contrast, glucokinase and GLUT1 glucose-transporter mRNA gene expression were not affected by transfection with GLUT2 glucose-transporter cDNA. The insulin content of transfected RINm5F cells was 7-fold higher after tissue culture at high glucose concentrations than in non-transfected controls. GLUT2-transfected RINm5F cells also regained insulin-secretory responsiveness toward high glucose concentrations. Tissue culture for 72 h in 20 mM glucose induced glucokinase activity in the GLUT2-transfected RINm5F clone T1, raising the glucokinase/hexokinase phosphorylation ratio from 0.2 to 0.6. The experiments demonstrate that an increased glucose uptake via a low-affinity glucose transporter and an increased metabolic flux rate are important factors in the induction of insulin-gene expression and glucokinase activity and thus improved glucose-induced biosynthesis and secretion of insulin in RINm5F insulinoma cells.

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