Epidermal growth factor induces glucose storage in transgenic 3T3-L1 adipocytes overexpressing epidermal growth factor receptors

Academic Article


  • 3T3-L1 adipocytes represent an established physiological model for studying glucose uptake and storage. Overexpression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors in these cells (200,000-250,000 receptors per cell) confers EGF-inducible GLUT4-mediated glucose uptake (17). We now report that EGF receptor (EGFR)-mediated signals can induce incorporation of glucose into glycogen and lipids in these cells. Incorporation into lipids was stimulated to similar levels by insulin or EGF in adipocytes expressing full-length (wild type) EGFR (2.05 ± 0.26-fold for insulin vs. 2.28 ± 0.15-fold for EGF). EGF induced incorporation into glycogen at roughly 60% of the level of insulin (4.53 ± 0.57-fold for insulin vs. 2.76 ± 0.25-fold for EGF); this corresponded with similarly lower levels of glycogen synthase activation by EGF relative to insulin stimulation. EGFR kinase activity was required for induced storage because a kinase-inactive (M721) EGFR failed to stimulate glucose incorporation into glycogen or lipids. EGFRs that lack all or part of the unique EGFR COOH-terminal tail induced glucose incorporation at levels similar to that stimulated by full-length (wild type) EGFR. Thus, domains in the COOH-terminal tail of the EGFR, which are necessary for stimulating glucose transport, are not required for signaling EGF-induced glucose storage. EGF-induced glucose storage did not require de novo protein synthesis, suggesting that EGFR signaling uses existing pathways in the adipocytes. These data demonstrate that signaling pathways for EGFR-mediated glucose storage and GLUT4-mediated glucose transport diverge at the receptor level. Thus, EGF-induced glucose storage can be achieved in the absence of induced GLUT4-mediated glucose transport.
  • Published In

  • Diabetes  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Van Epps-Fung M; Hardy RW; Williford J; Gupta K; Wells A
  • Start Page

  • 1619
  • End Page

  • 1625
  • Volume

  • 45
  • Issue

  • 11