Insulin Receptors and Downstream Substrates Associate with Membrane Microdomains after Treatment with Insulin or Chromium(III) Picolinate

Abeer Al-Qatati, Peter W. Winter, Amber L. Wolf-Ringwall, Pabitra B. Chatterjee, Alan K. van Orden, Debbie C. Crans, Deborah A. Roess, B. George Barisas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We have examined the association of insulin receptors (IR) and downstream signaling molecules with membrane microdomains in rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells following treatment with insulin or tris(2-pyridinecarbxylato)chromium(III) (Cr(pic) 3). Single-particle tracking demonstrated that individual IR on these cells exhibited reduced lateral diffusion and increased confinement within 100 nm-scale membrane compartments after treatment with either 200 nM insulin or 10 μM Cr(pic) 3. These treatments also increased the association of native IR, phosphorylated insulin receptor substrate 1 and phosphorylated AKT with detergent-resistant membrane microdomains of characteristically high buoyancy. Confocal fluorescence microscopic imaging of Di-4-ANEPPDHQ labeled RBL-2H3 cells also showed that plasma membrane lipid order decreased following treatment with Cr(pic) 3 but was not altered by insulin treatment. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy demonstrated that Cr(pic) 3 did not affect IR cell-surface density or compete with insulin for available binding sites. Finally, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicated that Cr(pic) 3 likely associates with the lipid interface in reverse-micelle model membranes. Taken together, these results suggest that activation of IR signaling in a cellular model system by both insulin and Cr(pic) 3 involves retention of IR in specialized nanometer-scale membrane microdomains but that the insulin-like effects of Cr(pic) 3 are due to changes in membrane lipid order rather than to direct interactions with IR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-450
Number of pages10
JournalCell biochemistry and biophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This study was supported by the NSF (CHE0628260, MCB1024668) and by the American Heart Association (AHA0650081Z).


  • Chromium
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Insulin
  • Lipid order
  • Membrane microdomain
  • Picolinate
  • Reverse micelle
  • Single-particle tracking


Dive into the research topics of 'Insulin Receptors and Downstream Substrates Associate with Membrane Microdomains after Treatment with Insulin or Chromium(III) Picolinate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this