Carbachol-stimulated insulin release in the RINm5F cell is associated with elevation of the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) through mobilization of Ca2+ from thapsigargin-sensitive intracellular stores and with the generation of diacylglycerol (DAG). Thus carbachol activates phospholipase C, and this was thought to be the means by which it stimulates insulin secretion. However, when the elevation of [Ca2+]i was blocked by thapsigargin, the effect of carbachol to stimulate insulin release was unchanged. Thus the effect of carbachol to increase [Ca2+]i was dissociated from the stimulation of release. When the role of protein kinase C (PKC) was examined, carbachol-stimulated insulin release was found to be unaffected by phorbol ester-induced downregulation of PKC, using 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), and by the PKC inhibitors staurosporine, bisindolylmaleimide, and 1-O-hexadecyl-2-O-methylglycerol (AMG-C16). These treatments abolished the stimulation of release by TPA. Thus the carbachol activation of PKC appeared also to be dissociated from the stimulation of insulin release. However, when the activation of several different PKC isozymes was studied, an atypical PKC isozyme, zeta, was found to be translocated by carbachol. By Western blotting analysis, carbachol selectively translocated the conventional PKC isozymes alpha and beta (the activation of which is dependent on Ca2+ and DAG) from the cytosol to the membrane. Carbachol also translocated the atypical PKC isozyme zeta, which is insensitive to Ca2+, DAG, and phorbol esters. The PKC inhibitors staurosporine, bisindolylmaleimide, and AMG-C16 blocked the stimulated translocation of PKC-alpha and -beta, but not that of PKC-zeta. Prolonged treatment of the cells with TPA downregulated PKC-alpha and -beta, but not PKC-zeta. Under all these conditions, carbachol-stimulated insulin release was unaffected. However, a pseudosubstrate peptide inhibitor specific for PKC-zeta inhibited the translocation of PKC-zeta and 70% of the carbachol-stimulated insulin secretion. The data indicate that carbachol-stimulated insulin release in RINm5F cells is mediated to a large degree by the activation of the atypical PKC isozyme zeta.

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