Skeletal muscle free fatty acid (FFA) uptake correlates with the amount of fatty acid translocase CD36 on the cell surface. In obesity, chronic membrane-localization of CD36, but not other FFA transporters, augments FFA uptake and intracellular lipid accumulation. This ectopic lipid accumulation then causes insulin resistance (IR) by inhibiting GLUT4 glucose transporter trafficking and glucose uptake in response to insulin. GLUT4 and CD36 cell-surface delivery is stimulated by insulin and contraction signaling, sharing conserved downstream effectors.The eight-protein exocyst complex is responsible for the targeted docking of membrane-bound vesicles, a process underlying cell-surface delivery of fuel transporters. The exocyst indeedregulates insulin-induced glucose uptake via GLUT4 trafficking to the membrane in adipocytes and skeletal muscle. In addition, it controls lipid uptake in adipocytes, but we do not know which of the FFA-transporting proteins the exocyst targets during this process. Based on the high degree of conservation of the fuel transporter trafficking mechanisms in adipose and skeletal muscle tissue, we hypothesized that the exocyst contributes to lipid uptake in skeletal muscle via the targeted trafficking of CD36. Our data shows that the exocyst plays a role in FFA uptake in skeletal muscle cells. Using an L6 GLUT4myc myoblast model we demonstrate that the exocyst is recruited to CD36 vesicles upon insulin and contraction signaling. We also show that disrupted exocyst activity leads to an impaired CD36 surface delivery and decreased FFA uptake in skeletal myoblasts. We are the first to demonstrate that the exocyst is necessary for insulin- and contraction-induced CD36 membrane trafficking and FFA metabolism in muscle cells. Further studies will continue to investigate the mechanism of exocyst-regulated FFA uptake and lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle to help our understanding of ectopic lipid accumulation leading to IR.


N. K. Nakamura: None. D. S. Tokunaga: None. H. Y. J. Ha: None. N. Polgar: None.

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