The regulation of insulin secretion from RINm5F cells exposed to high voltage discharge has been investigated. Electron microscopy revealed that the overall structure of the cells was preserved after permeabilization. In this preparation insulin release was stimulated by Ca2+ (EC50=2.4 μM). The stable GTP analogue GTPγS enhanced secretion both at intermediate (nano- to micromolar) and vanishingly low (<10 pM) Ca2+ concentrations. At optimal Ca2+ (10 μM) the effect of GTPγS was greatly reduced. We investigated whether the secretory response to GTP analogues was mediated by any of three enzyme systems regulated by GTP-binding proteins, i.e. generation of cyclic AMP by adenylate cyclase, of diacylglycerol by phospholipase C and of arachidonic acid by phospholipase A2. The involvement of these messenger systems could be excluded as (i) cyclic AMP only had minor, Ca2+ dependent effects, (ii) phospholipase C was not activated in the absence of Ca2+ and insulin secretion due to the phorbol ester TPA displayed a different Ca2+ dependency, (iii) arachidonic acid did not elicit Ca2+ independent insulin secretion. These results, taken together with the finding that insulin secretion due to Ca2+ or TPA is attenuated by the inhibitory guanine nucleotide GDPβS, suggest the existence of a regulatory site in exocytosis which is sensitive to guanine nucleotides.

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