The adaptor protein APPL2 controls glucose-stimulated insulin secretion via F-actin remodeling in pancreatic β-cells

Baile Wang, Huige Lin, Xiaomu Li, Wenqi Lu, Jae Bum Kim, Aimin Xu, Kenneth K.Y. Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Filamentous actin (F-actin) cytoskeletal remodeling is critical for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) in pancreatic β-cells, and its dysregulation causes type 2 diabetes. The adaptor protein APPL1 promotes first-phase GSIS by up-regulating soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein expression. However, whether APPL2 (a close homology of APPL1 with the same domain organization) plays a role in β-cell functions is unknown. Here, we show that APPL2 enhances GSIS by promoting F-actin remodeling via the small GTPase Rac1 in pancreatic β-cells. β-cell specific abrogation of APPL2 impaired GSIS, leading to glucose intolerance in mice. APPL2 deficiency largely abolished glucose-induced first- and second-phase insulin secretion in pancreatic islets. Real-time live-cell imaging and phalloidin staining revealed that APPL2 deficiency abolished glucose-induced F-actin depolymerization in pancreatic islets. Likewise, knockdown of APPL2 expression impaired glucose-stimulated F-actin depolymerization and subsequent insulin secretion in INS-1E cells, which were attributable to the impairment of Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) activation. Treatment with the F-actin depolymerization chemical compounds or overexpression of gelsolin (a F-actin remodeling protein) rescued APPL2 deficiency-induced defective GSIS. In addition, APPL2 interacted with Rac GTPase activating protein 1 (RacGAP1) in a glucose-dependent manner via the bin/amphiphysin/rvs-pleckstrin homology (BAR-PH) domain of APPL2 in INS-1E cells and HEK293 cells. Concomitant knockdown of RacGAP1 expression reverted APPL2 deficiency-induced defective GSIS, F-actin remodeling, and Rac1 activation in INS-1E cells. Our data indicate that APPL2 interacts with RacGAP1 and suppresses its negative action on Rac1 activity and F-actin depolymerization thereby enhancing GSIS in pancreatic β-cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28307-28315
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020


  • Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion | type 2 diabetes | Rac1 | F-actin depolymerization | APPL2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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