PICK1 and ICA69 Control Insulin Granule Trafficking and Their Deficiencies Lead to Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Mian Cao, Zhuo Mao, Chuen Kam, Nan Xiao, Xiaoxing Cao, Chong Shen, King Yip Cheng, Aimin Xu, Kwong Man Lee, Liwen Jiang, Jun Xia

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia. Insulin, which is secreted by pancreatic beta cells, is recognized as the critical regulator of blood glucose, but the molecular machinery responsible for insulin trafficking remains poorly defined. In particular, the roles of cytosolic factors that govern the formation and maturation of insulin granules are unclear. Here we report that PICK1 and ICA69, two cytosolic lipid-binding proteins, formed heteromeric BAR-domain complexes that associated with insulin granules at different stages of their maturation. PICK1-ICA69 heteromeric complexes associated with immature secretory granules near the trans-Golgi network (TGN). A brief treatment of Brefeldin A, which blocks vesicle budding from the Golgi, increased the amount of PICK1 and ICA69 at TGN. On the other hand, mature secretory granules were associated with PICK1 only, not ICA69. PICK1 deficiency in mice caused the complete loss of ICA69 and led to increased food and water intake but lower body weight. Glucose tolerance tests demonstrated that these mutant mice had high blood glucose, a consequence of insufficient insulin. Importantly, while the total insulin level was reduced in PICK1-deficient beta cells, proinsulin was increased. Lastly, ICA69 knockout mice also displayed similar phenotype as the mice deficient in PICK1. Together, our results indicate that PICK1 and ICA69 are key regulators of the formation and maturation of insulin granules.Author Summary:Insulin is a key regulator of blood glucose and insufficient insulin leads to diabetes. Insulin is synthesized as proinsulin, processed in endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi, and eventually packaged into insulin granules, a type of dense core vesicles. Despite its importance, the molecular mechanisms governing the biogenesis and maturation of insulin granules are not fully understood. In this study, we identified two cytosolic proteins, PICK1 and ICA69, as important regulators of insulin granule biogenesis and maturation. Both PICK1 and ICA69 have the banana-shaped BAR domain that can bend the lipid membrane and help the formation of dense core vesicles. We show that without PICK1 or ICA69, insulin granules cannot be properly formed and, as a result, proinsulin cannot be effectively processed into mature insulin. Mice lacking functional PICK1 or ICA69 genes have reduced insulin but increased proinsulin. Consequently, these mice have high levels of glucose, a prominent feature found in diabetes patients. These results add to previous findings that PICK1 is important for the generation of proacrosomal granules found in cells of the testis, and thereby support a wider role for PICK1 and ICA69 in regulating dense core vesicle biogenesis and maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1001541
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'PICK1 and ICA69 Control Insulin Granule Trafficking and Their Deficiencies Lead to Impaired Glucose Tolerance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this