Insulin stimulates Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity and induces translocation of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase molecules to the plasma membrane in skeletal muscle. We determined the molecular mechanism by which insulin regulates Na(+),K(+)-ATPase in differentiated primary human skeletal muscle cells (HSMCs). Insulin action on Na(+),K(+)-ATPase was dependent on ERK1/2 in HSMCs. Sequence analysis of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase alpha-subunits revealed several potential ERK phosphorylation sites. Insulin increased ouabain-sensitive (86)Rb(+) uptake and [(3)H]ouabain binding in intact cells. Insulin also increased phosphorylation and plasma membrane content of the Na(+),K(+)-ATPase alpha(1)- and alpha(2)-subunits. Insulin-stimulated Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activation, phosphorylation, and translocation of alpha-subunits to the plasma membrane were abolished by 20 microm PD98059, which is an inhibitor of MEK1/2, an upstream kinase of ERK1/2. Furthermore, inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (100 nm wortmannin) and protein kinase C (10 microm GF109203X) had similar effects. Notably, insulin-stimulated ERK1/2 phosphorylation was abolished by wortmannin and GF109203X in HSMCs. Insulin also stimulated phosphorylation of alpha(1)- and alpha(2)-subunits on Thr-Pro amino acid motifs, which form specific ERK substrates. Furthermore, recombinant ERK1 and -2 kinases were able to phosphorylate alpha-subunit of purified human Na(+),K(+)-ATPase in vitro. In conclusion, insulin stimulates Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity and translocation to plasma membrane in HSMCs via phosphorylation of the alpha-subunits by ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase.
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