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A new mouse model has been developed to study the localisation and trafficking of the glucose transporter GLUT4 in muscle. The mouse line has specific expression of a GFP and HA-epitope-tagged version of GLUT4 under the control of a muscle-specific promoter. The exofacial HA-tag has enabled fluorescent labelling of only the GLUT4 exposed at the external surface. A distinction between sarcolemma labelling and transverse-tubule labelling has also been possible because the former compartment is much more accessible to intact anti-HA antibody. By contrast, the Fab fragment of the anti-HA antibody could readily detect GLUT4 at the surface of both the sarcolemma and transverse tubules. Here, we have used this mouse model to examine the route taken by cardiomyocyte GLUT4 as it moves to the limiting external membrane surface of sarcolemma and transverse-tubules in response to insulin, contraction or activators of energy-status signalling, including hypoxia. HA-GLUT4-GFP is largely excluded from the sarcolemma and transverse-tubule membrane of cardiomyocytes under basal conditions, but is similarly trafficked to these membrane surfaces after stimulation with insulin, contraction or hypoxia. Internalisation of sarcolemma GLUT4 has been investigated by pulse-labelling surface GLUT4 with intact anti-HA antibody. At early stages of internalisation, HA-tagged GLUT4 colocalises with clathrin at puncta at the sarcolemma, indicating that in cells returning to a basal state, GLUT4 is removed from external membranes by a clathrin-mediated route. We also observed colocalisation of GLUT4 with clathrin under basal conditions. At later stages of internalisation and at steady state, anti-HA antibody labeled-GLUT4 originating from the sarcolemma was predominantly detected in a peri-nuclear compartment, indistinguishable among the specific initial stimuli. These results taken together imply a common pathway for internalisation of GLUT4, independent of the initial stimulus.
- AMPK signalling
- GLUT4 trafficking
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