Neuroendocrine cells store ATP in secretory granules and release it along with hormones that may trigger a variety of cellular responses in a process called purinergic chemical transmission. Although the vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT) has been shown to be involved in vesicular storage and release of ATP, its physiological relevance invivois far less well understood. In Vnutknockout (Vnut-/-) mice, we found that the loss of functional VNUT in adrenal chromaffin granules and insulin granules in the islets of Langerhans led to several significant effects. Vesicular ATP accumulation and depolarization-dependent ATP release were absent in the chromaffin granules of Vnut-/- mice. Glucose-responsive ATP release was also absent in pancreatic β-cells in Vnut-/- mice, while glucose-responsive insulin secretion was enhanced to a greater extent than that in wild-type tissue. Vnut-/- mice exhibited improved glucose tolerance and low blood glucose upon fasting due to increased insulin sensitivity. These results demonstrated an essential role of VNUT in vesicular storage and release of ATP in neuroendocrine cellsin vivoand suggest that vesicular ATP and/or its degradation products act as feedback regulators in catecholamine and insulin secretion, thereby regulating blood glucose homeostasis.
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