- Phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3) is a major lipid second messenger in insulin-mediated signalling towards the metabolic actions of this hormone in muscle and fat. PURPOSE: Assessing the intracellular transport of exogenous PIP3 attached to a polymeric carrier in an attempt to overcome cellular insulin resistance. METHODS: Artificial chromatic bio-mimetic membrane vesicles composed of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine and polydiacetylene were applied to screen the polymeric carriers. PIP3 cellular localization and bio-activity was assessed by fluorescent and live-cell microscopy in L6 muscle cells and in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We demonstrate that a specific-branched polyethylenimine (PEI-25, 25 kDa) carrier forms complexes with PIP3 that interact with the bio-mimetic membrane vesicles in a manner predictive of their interaction with cells: In L6 muscle cells, PEI-25/fluorescent-PIP3 complexes are retarded at the cell perimeter. PEI-25/PIP3 complexes retain their bio-activity, engaging signalling steps downstream of PIP3, even in muscle cells rendered insulin resistant by exposure to high glucose/high insulin. CONCLUSIONS: Inducing insulin actions by intracellular PIP3 delivery (PEI-25/PIP3 complexes) in some forms of insulin-resistant cells provides the first proof-of-principle for the potential therapeutic use of PIP3 in a "second-messenger agonist" approach. In addition, utilization of an artificial bio-mimetic membrane platform to screen for highly efficient PIP3 delivery predicts biological function in cells.