Pancreatic beta-cell function and mass are markedly adaptive to compensate for the changes in insulin requirement observed during several situations such as pregnancy, obesity, glucocorticoids excess, or administration. This requires a beta-cell compensation which is achieved through a gain of beta-cell mass and function. Elucidating the physiological mechanisms that promote functional beta-cell mass expansion and that protect cells against death, is a key therapeutic target for diabetes. In this respect, several recent studies have emphasized the instrumental role of microRNAs in the control of beta-cell function. MicroRNAs are negative regulators of gene expression, and are pivotal for the control of beta-cell proliferation, function, and survival. On the one hand, changes in specific microRNA levels have been associated with beta-cell compensation and are triggered by hormones or bioactive peptides that promote beta-cell survival and function. Conversely, modifications in the expression of other specific microRNAs contribute to beta-cell dysfunction and death elicited by diabetogenic factors including, cytokines, chronic hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, and oxidized LDL. This review underlines the importance of targeting the microRNA network for future innovative therapies aiming at preventing the beta-cell decline in diabetes.
Pancreatic ?-cells play central roles in blood glucose homeostasis. Beside insulin, these cells release neurotransmitters and other signaling molecules stored in synaptic-like microvesicles (SLMVs). We monitored SLMV exocytosis by transfecting a synaptophysin-pHluorin construct and by visualizing the cells by Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. SLMV fusion was elicited by 20 mM glucose and by depolarizing K(+) concentrations with kinetics comparable to insulin secretion. SLMV exocytosis was prevented by Tetanus and Botulinum-C neurotoxins indicating that the fusion machinery of these organelles includes VAMP-2/-3 and Syntaxin-1, respectively. Sequential visualization of SLMVs by TIRF and epifluorescence microscopy showed that after fusion the vesicle components are rapidly internalized and the organelles re-acidified. Analysis of single fusion episodes revealed the existence of two categories of events. While under basal conditions transient fusion events prevailed, long-lasting episodes were more frequent upon secretagogue exposure. Our observations unveiled similarities between the mechanism of exocytosis of insulin granules and SLMVs. Thus, diabetic conditions characterized by defective insulin secretion are most probably associated also with inappropriate release of molecules stored in SLMVs. The assessment of the contribution of SLMV exocytosis to the manifestation of the disease will be facilitated by the use of the imaging approach described in this study.
Diabetes mellitus is characterized by insulin secretion from pancreatic ? cells that is insufficient to maintain blood glucose homeostasis. Autoimmune destruction of ? cells results in type 1 diabetes mellitus, whereas conditions that reduce insulin sensitivity and negatively affect ?-cell activities result in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Without proper management, patients with diabetes mellitus develop serious complications that reduce their quality of life and life expectancy. Biomarkers for early detection of the disease and identification of individuals at risk of developing complications would greatly improve the care of these patients. Small non-coding RNAs called microRNAs (miRNAs) control gene expression and participate in many physiopathological processes. Hundreds of miRNAs are actively or passively released in the circulation and can be used to evaluate health status and disease progression. Both type 1 diabetes mellitus and type 2 diabetes mellitus are associated with distinct modifications in the profile of miRNAs in the blood, which are sometimes detectable several years before the disease manifests. Moreover, circulating levels of certain miRNAs seem to be predictive of long-term complications. Technical and scientific obstacles still exist that need to be overcome, but circulating miRNAs might soon become part of the diagnostic arsenal to identify individuals at risk of developing diabetes mellitus and its devastating complications.
MicroRNAs are key regulators of gene expression involved in health and disease. The goal of our study was to investigate the global changes in beta cell microRNA expression occurring in two models of obesity-associated type 2 diabetes and to assess their potential contribution to the development of the disease.
Neuropeptide- and hormone-containing secretory granules (SGs) are synthesized at the trans-Golgi network (TGN) as immature secretory granules (ISGs) and complete their maturation in the F-actin-rich cell cortex. This maturation process is characterized by acidification-dependent processing of cargo proteins, condensation of the SG matrix and removal of membrane and proteins not destined to mature secretory granules (MSGs). Here we addressed a potential role of Rab3 isoforms in these maturation steps by expressing their nucleotide-binding deficient mutants in PC12 cells. Our data show that the presence of Rab3D(N135I) decreases the restriction of maturing SGs to the F-actin-rich cell cortex, blocks the removal of the endoprotease furin from SGs and impedes the processing of the luminal SG protein secretogranin II. This strongly suggests that Rab3D is implicated in the subcellular localization and maturation of ISGs.
Rab37 belongs to a subclass of Rab GTPases regulating exocytosis, including also Rab3a and Rab27a. Proteomic studies indicate that Rab37 is associated with insulin-containing large dense core granules of pancreatic ?-cells. In agreement with these observations, we detected Rab37 in extracts of ?-cell lines and human pancreatic islets and confirmed by confocal microscopy the localization of the GTPase on insulin-containing secretory granules. We found that, as is the case for Rab3a and Rab27a, reduction of Rab37 levels by RNA interference leads to impairment in glucose-induced insulin secretion and to a decrease in the number of granules in close apposition to the plasma membrane. Pull-down experiments revealed that, despite similar functional effects, Rab37 does not interact with known Rab3a or Rab27a effectors and is likely to operate through a different mechanism. Exposure of insulin-secreting cells to proinflammatory cytokines, fatty acids or oxidized low-density lipoproteins, mimicking physiopathological conditions that favor the development of diabetes, resulted in a decrease in Rab37 expression. Our data identify Rab37 as an additional component of the machinery governing exocytosis of ?-cells and suggest that impaired expression of this GTPase may contribute to defective insulin release in pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions.
The brain-spliced isoform of Myosin Va (BR-MyoVa) plays an important role in the transport of dense core secretory granules (SGs) to the plasma membrane in hormone and neuropeptide-producing cells. The molecular composition of the protein complex that recruits BR-MyoVa to SGs and regulates its function has not been identified to date. We have identified interaction between SG-associated proteins granuphilin-a/b (Gran-a/b), BR-MyoVa and Rab27a, a member of the Rab family of GTPases. Gran-a/b-BR-MyoVa interaction is direct, involves regions downstream of the Rab27-binding domain, and the C-terminal part of Gran-a determines exon specificity. MyoVa and Gran-a/b are partially colocalised on SGs and disruption of Gran-a/b-BR-MyoVa binding results in a perinuclear accumulation of SGs which augments nutrient-stimulated hormone secretion in pancreatic beta-cells. These results indicate the existence of at least another binding partner of BR-MyoVa that was identified as rabphilin-3A (Rph-3A). BR-MyoVa-Rph-3A interaction is also direct and enhanced when secretion is activated. The BR-MyoVa-Rph-3A and BR-MyoVa-Gran-a/b complexes are linked to a different subset of SGs, and simultaneous inhibition of these complexes nearly completely blocks stimulated hormone release. This study demonstrates that multiple binding partners of BR-MyoVa regulate SG transport, and this molecular mechanism is universally used by neuronal, endocrine and neuroendocrine cells.
Increase in adipose cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) activity promotes adipocyte dysfunction and systemic insulin resistance in obese mice. This is achieved by increasing the expression of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3). In this study, we investigated whether impaired expression of the inducible cAMP early repressor (ICER), a transcriptional antagonist of CREB, is responsible for the increased CREB activity in adipocytes of obese mice and humans.
In the brain, glutamate is an extracellular transmitter that mediates cell-to-cell communication. Prior to synaptic release it is pumped into vesicles by vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs). To inactivate glutamate receptor responses after release, glutamate is taken up into glial cells or neurons by excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs). In the pancreatic islets of Langerhans, glutamate is proposed to act as an intracellular messenger, regulating insulin secretion from ?-cells, but the mechanisms involved are unknown. By immunogold cytochemistry we show that insulin containing secretory granules express VGLUT3. Despite the fact that they have a VGLUT, the levels of glutamate in these granules are low, indicating the presence of a protein that can transport glutamate out of the granules. Surprisingly, in ?-cells the glutamate transporter EAAT2 is located, not in the plasma membrane as it is in brain cells, but exclusively in insulin-containing secretory granules, together with VGLUT3. In EAAT2 knock out mice, the content of glutamate in secretory granules is higher than in wild type mice. These data imply a glutamate cycle in which glutamate is carried into the granules by VGLUT3 and carried out by EAAT2. Perturbing this cycle by knocking down EAAT2 expression with a small interfering RNA, or by over-expressing EAAT2 or a VGLUT in insulin granules, significantly reduced the rate of granule exocytosis. Simulations of granule energetics suggest that VGLUT3 and EAAT2 may regulate the pH and membrane potential of the granules and thereby regulate insulin secretion. These data suggest that insulin secretion from ?-cells is modulated by the flux of glutamate through the secretory granules.
Diabetes mellitus is a complex disease resulting in altered glucose homeostasis. In both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, pancreatic ? cells cannot secrete appropriate amounts of insulin to regulate blood glucose level. Moreover, in type 2 diabetes mellitus, altered insulin secretion is combined with a resistance of insulin-target tissues, mainly liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle. Both environmental and genetic factors are known to contribute to the development of the disease. Growing evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small noncoding RNA molecules, are involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes. miRNAs function as translational repressors and are emerging as important regulators of key biological processes. Here, we review recent studies reporting changes in miRNA expression in tissues isolated from different diabetic animal models. We also describe the role of several miRNAs in pancreatic ? cells and insulin-target tissues. Finally, we discuss the possible use of miRNAs as blood biomarkers to prevent diabetes development and as tools for gene-based therapy to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Pancreatic beta-cells exposed to proinflammatory cytokines display alterations in gene expression resulting in defective insulin secretion and apoptosis. MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs emerging as key regulators of gene expression. Here, we evaluated the contribution of microRNAs to cytokine-mediated beta-cell cytotoxicity.
RalA and RalB are multifuntional GTPases involved in a variety of cellular processes including proliferation, oncogenic transformation and membrane trafficking. Here we investigated the mechanisms leading to activation of Ral proteins in pancreatic beta-cells and analyzed the impact on different steps of the insulin-secretory process.
Fatty acids can favour the development of Type 2 diabetes by reducing insulin secretion and inducing apoptosis of pancreatic beta-cells. Here, we show that sustained exposure of the beta-cell line MIN6 or of isolated pancreatic islets to the most abundant circulating fatty acid palmitate increases the level of C/EBPbeta, an insulin transcriptional repressor. In contrast, two unsaturated fatty acids, oleate and linoleate were without effect. The induction of C/EBPbeta elicited by palmitate was prevented by inhibiting the ERK1/2 MAP kinase pathway or by reducing mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation with an inhibitor of Carnitine Palmitoyl Transferase-1. Overexpression of C/EBPbeta mimicked the detrimental effects of palmitate and resulted in a drastic reduction in insulin promoter activity, impairment in the capacity to respond to secretory stimuli and an increase in apoptosis. Our data suggest a potential involvement of C/EBPbeta as mediator of the deleterious effects of unsaturated free fatty acids on beta-cell function.
Pregnancy and obesity are frequently associated with diminished insulin sensitivity, which is normally compensated for by an expansion of the functional ? cell mass that prevents chronic hyperglycemia and development of diabetes mellitus. The molecular basis underlying compensatory ? cell mass expansion is largely unknown. We found in rodents that ? cell mass expansion during pregnancy and obesity is associated with changes in the expression of several islet microRNAs, including miR-338-3p. In isolated pancreatic islets, we recapitulated the decreased miR-338-3p level observed in gestation and obesity by activating the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor GPR30 and the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) receptor. Blockade of miR-338-3p in ? cells using specific anti-miR molecules mimicked gene expression changes occurring during ? cell mass expansion and resulted in increased proliferation and improved survival both in vitro and in vivo. These findings point to a major role for miR-338-3p in compensatory ? cell mass expansion occurring under different insulin resistance states.
Myosin- and Rab-interacting protein (MyRIP), which belongs to the protein kinase A (PKA)-anchoring family, is implicated in hormone secretion. However, its mechanism of action is not fully elucidated. Here we investigate the role of MyRIP in myosin Va (MyoVa)-dependent secretory granule (SG) transport and secretion in pancreatic beta cells. These cells solely express the brain isoform of MyoVa (BR-MyoVa), which is a key motor protein in SG transport. In vitro pull-down, coimmunoprecipitation, and colocalization studies revealed that MyRIP does not interact with BR-MyoVa in glucose-stimulated pancreatic beta cells, suggesting that, contrary to previous notions, MyRIP does not link this motor protein to SGs. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion is augmented by incretin hormones, which increase cAMP levels and leads to MyRIP phosphorylation, its interaction with BR-MyoVa, and phosphorylation of the BR-MyoVa receptor rabphilin-3A (Rph-3A). Rph-3A phosphorylation on Ser-234 was inhibited by small interfering RNA knockdown of MyRIP, which also reduced cAMP-mediated hormone secretion. Demonstrating the importance of this phosphorylation, nonphosphorylatable and phosphomimic Rph-3A mutants significantly altered hormone release when PKA was activated. These data suggest that MyRIP only forms a functional protein complex with BR-MyoVa on SGs when cAMP is elevated and under this condition facilitates phosphorylation of SG-associated proteins, which in turn can enhance secretion.
During the initial phases of type 1 diabetes, pancreatic islets are invaded by immune cells, exposing ?-cells to proinflammatory cytokines. This unfavorable environment results in gene expression modifications leading to loss of ?-cell functions. To study the contribution of microRNAs (miRNAs) in this process, we used microarray analysis to search for changes in miRNA expression in prediabetic NOD mice islets. We found that the levels of miR-29a/b/c increased in islets of NOD mice during the phases preceding diabetes manifestation and in isolated mouse and human islets exposed to proinflammatory cytokines. Overexpression of miR-29a/b/c in MIN6 and dissociated islet cells led to impairment in glucose-induced insulin secretion. Defective insulin release was associated with diminished expression of the transcription factor Onecut2, and a consequent rise of granuphilin, an inhibitor of ?-cell exocytosis. Overexpression of miR-29a/b/c also promoted apoptosis by decreasing the level of the antiapoptotic protein Mcl1. Indeed, a decoy molecule selectively masking the miR-29 binding site on Mcl1 mRNA protected insulin-secreting cells from apoptosis triggered by miR-29 or cytokines. Taken together, our findings suggest that changes in the level of miR-29 family members contribute to cytokine-mediated ?-cell dysfunction occurring during the initial phases of type 1 diabetes.
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