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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effect of insulin on plasma-membrane and mitochondrial-membrane potentials in isolated fat-cells.

1. A recently developed technique for the measurement of plasma-membrane and mitochondrial-membrane potentials in intact cells by using the distribution of 86Rb+ and [3H]methyltriphenylphosphonium+ has enabled us to characterize a novel insulin effect on fat-cell mitochondria. For control cells the plasma-membrane and mitochondrial-membrane potentials were 75 mV and 152 mV respectively. Insulin (10 mu units/ml) caused a 9 mV hyperpolarization of the plasma membrane and a 19 mV depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane. 2. The insulin-dependent mitochondrial depolarization was observed at physiological insulin concentrations (10 mu units/ml) and was apparent when the cells metabolized a wide variety of substrates. 3. Evidence from the uptake of the weak acid 5,5-dimethyloxazolidine-2,4-dione by fat-cells was interpreted as indicating that the mitochondrial pH gradient was increased by insulin. 4. Insulin alters the balance between the electrical and pH-gradient components that form the mitochondrial protonmotive force. A model is proposed.[1]


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