Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells requires the kinesin-1/Kif5B-mediated transport of insulin granules along microtubules. 5′-AMPK (5′-AMP-activated protein kinase) is a heterotrimeric serine/threonine kinase which is activated in β-cells at low glucose concentrations, but inhibited as glucose levels increase. Active AMPK blocks glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and the recruitment of insulin granules to the cell surface, suggesting motor proteins may be targets for this kinase. While both kinesin-1/Kif5B and KLC1 (kinesin light chain-1) contain consensus AMPK phosphorylation sites (Thr693 and Ser520, respectively) only recombinant GST (glutathione transferase)–KLC1 was phosphorylated by purified AMPK in vitro. To test the hypothesis that phosphorylation at this site may modulate kinesin-1-mediated granule movement, we developed an approach to study the dynamics of all the resolvable granules within a cell in three dimensions. This cell-wide approach revealed that the number of longer excursions (>10 μm) increased significantly in response to elevated glucose concentration (30 versus 3 mM) in control MIN6 β-cells. However, similar changes were seen in cells overexpressing wild-type KLC1, phosphomimetic (S517D/S520D) or non-phosphorylatable (S517A/S520A) mutants of KLC1. Thus, changes in the phosphorylation state of KLC1 at Ser517/Ser520 seem unlikely to affect motor function.

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