Mastoparan, a tetradecapeptide component of wasp venom, activates heterotrimeric G-proteins and stimulates exocytosis in several cell types, including the pancreatic beta-cell. In this study, its effects on insulin secretion were assessed in both rat and human pancreatic islets, along with the ability of glucose and alpha-ketoisocaproate (alpha-KIC) to augment mastoparan-stimulated release. In Ca2+-free Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer containing 2.8 mmol/l glucose, 20 micromol/l mastoparan stimulated insulin secretion 12- and 14-fold in rat and human islets, respectively. The inactive analog mastoparan-17 had no effect on release. Under the same Ca2+-free conditions, 11.1 mmol/l glucose had no effect on insulin release alone, but augmented mastoparan-stimulated release by 74% in both rat and human islets. Stimulation of release by mastoparan and augmentation of release by glucose were unaffected by treatment with pertussis toxin. The effect of cellular GTP depletion on the mastoparan stimulation of release and augmentation by alpha-KIC was studied by culturing rat islets in the presence of 25 microg/ml mycophenolic acid for 20 h. In the control islets, alpha-KIC augmented mastoparan-stimulated insulin release by 80%. In the GTP-depleted rat islets, mastoparan-stimulated insulin release was not changed, while the augmentation by alpha-KIC was eliminated. Mannoheptulose completely blocked the augmentation by glucose. In conclusion, mastoparan stimulates insulin release by activation of a signal transduction pathway that can be augmented by nutrients such as glucose and alpha-KIC. Nutrient augmentation of this pathway is heavily dependent on GTP.

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