Signaling mechanisms of glucose-induced F-actin remodeling in pancreatic islet β cells

Michael A. Kalwat, Debbie C. Thurmond

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The maintenance of whole-body glucose homeostasis is critical for survival, and is controlled by the coordination of multiple organs and endocrine systems. Pancreatic islet β cells secrete insulin in response to nutrient stimuli, and insulin then travels through the circulation promoting glucose uptake into insulin-responsive tissues such as liver, skeletal muscle and adipose. Many of the genes identified in human genome-wide association studies of diabetic individuals are directly associated with β cell survival and function, giving credence to the idea that β-cell dysfunction is central to the development of type 2 diabetes. As such, investigations into the mechanisms by which β cells sense glucose and secrete insulin in a regulated manner are a major focus of current diabetes research. In particular, recent discoveries of the detailed role and requirements for reorganization/remodeling of filamentous actin (F-actin) in the regulation of insulin release from the β cell have appeared at the forefront of islet function research, having lapsed in prior years due to technical limitations. Recent advances in live-cell imaging and specialized reagents have revealed localized F-actin remodeling to be a requisite for the normal biphasic pattern of nutrient-stimulated insulin secretion. This review will provide an historical look at the emergent focus on the role of the actin cytoskeleton and its regulation of insulin secretion, leading up to the cutting-edge research in progress in the field today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere37
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 16 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical F-actin
  • Insulin secretion
  • Islet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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