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A fluorescent timer reporter enables sorting of insulin secretory granules by age


Within the pancreatic beta-cells, insulin secretory granules (SGs) exist in functionally distinct pools, displaying variations in motility as well as docking and fusion capability. Current therapies that increase insulin secretion do not consider the existence of these distinct SG pools. Accordingly, these approaches are effective only for a short period, with a worsening of glycemia associated with continued decline in beta-cell function. Insulin granule age is underappreciated as a determinant for why an insulin granule is selected for secretion and may explain why newly synthesized insulin is preferentially secreted from beta-cells. Here, using a novel fluorescent timer protein, we aimed to investigate the preferential secretion model of insulin secretion and identify how granule aging is affected by variation in the beta-cell environment, such as hyperglycemia. We demonstrate the use of a fluorescent timer construct, syncollin-dsRedE5TIMER, which changes its fluorescence from green to red over 18 h, in both microscopy and fluorescence-assisted organelle-sorting techniques. We confirm that the SG-targeting construct localizes to insulin granules in beta-cells and does not interfere with normal insulin SG behavior. We visualize insulin SG aging behavior in MIN6 and INS1 beta-cell lines and in primary C57BL/6J mouse and nondiabetic human islet cells. Finally, we separated young and old insulin SGs, revealing that preferential secretion of younger granules occurs in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. We also show that SG population age is modulated by the beta-cell environment in vivo in the db/db mouse islets and ex vivo in C57BL/6J islets exposed to different glucose environments.

Type Journal
ISBN 1083-351X (Electronic) 0021-9258 (Linking)
Authors Yau, B.; Hays, L.; Liang, C.; Laybutt, D. R.; Thomas, H. E.; Gunton, J. E.; Williams, L.; Hawthorne, W. J.; Thorn, P.; Rhodes, C. J.; Kebede, M. A.
Responsible Garvan Author A/Prof Ross Laybutt
Published Date 2020-07-03
Published Volume 295
Published Issue 27
Published Pages 8901-8911
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1074/jbc.RA120.012432
URL link to publisher's version