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Intracellular ATP-sensitive K+ channels in mouse pancreatic beta cells: against a role in organelle cation homeostasis.

A Varadi, A Grant, M McCormack, T Nicolson, M Magistri, K J Mitchell, A P Halestrap, H Yuan, B Schwappach, G A Rutter

Diabetologia, 2006 Jul , 49, 1567-77

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: ATP-sensitive K(+) (K(ATP)) channels located on the beta cell plasma membrane play a critical role in regulating insulin secretion and are targets for the sulfonylurea class of antihyperglycaemic drugs. Recent reports suggest that these channels may also reside on insulin-containing dense-core vesicles and mitochondria. The aim of this study was to explore these possibilities and to test the hypothesis that vesicle-resident channels play a role in the control of organellar Ca(2+) concentration or pH. METHODS: To quantify the subcellular distribution of the pore-forming subunit Kir6.2 and the sulfonylurea binding subunit SUR1 in isolated mouse islets and clonal pancreatic MIN6 beta cells, we used four complementary techniques: immunoelectron microscopy, density gradient fractionation, vesicle immunopurification and fluorescence-activated vesicle isolation. Intravesicular and mitochondrial concentrations of free Ca(2+) were measured in intact or digitonin-permeabilised MIN6 cells using recombinant, targeted aequorins, and intravesicular pH was measured with the recombinant fluorescent probe pHluorin. RESULTS: SUR1 and Kir6.2 immunoreactivity were concentrated on dense-core vesicles and on vesicles plus the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi network, respectively, in both islets and MIN6 cells. Reactivity to neither subunit was detected on mitochondria. Glibenclamide, tolbutamide and diazoxide all failed to affect Ca(2+) uptake into mitochondria, and K(ATP) channel regulators had no significant effect on intravesicular free Ca(2+) concentrations or vesicular pH. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: A significant proportion of Kir6.2 and SUR1 subunits reside on insulin-secretory vesicles and the distal secretory pathway in mouse beta cells but do not influence intravesicular ion homeostasis. We propose that dense-core vesicles may serve instead as sorting stations for the delivery of channels to the plasma membrane.