Cholesterol Biosynthesis Pathway Intermediates and Inhibitors Regulate Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Secretion and Secretory Granule Formation in Pancreatic β-Cells

Miho Tsuchiya, Masahiro Hosaka, Tomohisa Moriguchi, Shaojuan Zhang, Masayuki Suda, Hiromi Yokota-Hashimoto, Kazuo Shinozuka and Toshiyuki Takeuchi


Cholesterol is reportedly abundant in the endocrine secretory granule (SG) membrane. In this study, we examined the involvement of cholesterol biosynthesis intermediates and inhibitors in insulin secretion and SG formation mechanisms. There are two routes for the supply of cholesterol to the cells: one via de novo biosynthesis and the other via low-density lipoprotein receptormediated endocytosis. We found that insulin secretion and content are diminished by β-hydroxy-βmethylglutaryl-coenzyme A inhibitor lovastatin but not by lipoprotein depletion from the culture medium in MIN6 β-cells. Cholesterol biosynthesis intermediates mevalonate, squalene, and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, and the former two increased insulin content. The glucose-stimulated insulin secretion-enhancing effect of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate was also confirmed in perifusion with rat islets. Morphologically, mevalonate and squalene increased the population of SGs without affecting their size. In contrast, lovastatin increased the SG size with reduction of insulin-accumulating dense cores, leading to a decrease in insulin content. Furthermore, insulin was secreted in a constitutive manner, indicating disruption of regulated insulin secretion. Because secretogranin III, a cholesterol-binding SGresidential granin-family protein, coincides with SG localization based on the cholesterol composition, secretogranin III may be associated with insulin-accumulating mechanisms. Although the SG membrane exhibits a high cholesterol composition, we could not find detergent-resistant membrane regions using a lipid raft-residential protein flotillin and a fluorescent cholesterol-Sipyrene probe as markers on a sucrose-density gradient fractionation. We suggest that the high cholesterol composition of SG membrane with 40–50 mol% is crucial for insulin secretion and SG formation functions.


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