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Linfang Li, Xiaoyi Zhang, Hangjiang Ren, Xiuqing Huang, Tao Shen, Weiqing Tang, Lin Dou, and Jian Li

miR-23a-3p and miR-23b-3p are members of the miR-23~27~24-2 superfamily. The role of miR-23a/b-3p in regulating hepatic lipid accumulation is still unknown. Here, we found that increased miR-23a-3p and miR-23b-3p levels were accompanied by an increase in the protein levels of the sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP-1) and fatty acid synthase (FAS) in the steatotic livers of mice fed a high-fat diet and leptin receptor-deficient type 2 diabetic mice (db/db). Importantly, overexpression of miR-23a/b-3p in Hep1-6 cells elevated the intracellular triglyceride level and upregulated the expression of Srebp-1c and Fas. Taken together, these results suggested that miR-23a/b-3p enhanced mRNA stability by binding the 5'-UTR of Srebp-1c and Fas mRNA, thereby promoting triglyceride accumulation in hepatocytes.

Open access

Alba Moreno-Asso, Ali Altıntaş, Luke C McIlvenna, Rhiannon K Patten, Javier Botella, Andrew J McAinch, Raymond J Rodgers, Romain Barrès, and Nigel K Stepto

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder associated with insulin resistance and impaired energy metabolism in skeletal muscle, the aetiology of which is currently unclear. Here, we mapped the gene expression profile of skeletal muscle from women with PCOS and determined if cultured primary myotubes retain the gene expression signature of PCOS in vivo. Transcriptomic analysis of vastus lateralis biopsies collected from PCOS women showed lower expression of genes associated with mitochondrial function, while the expression of genes associated with the extracellular matrix was higher compared to controls. Altered skeletal muscle mRNA expression of mitochondrial-associated genes in PCOS was associated with lower protein expression of mitochondrial complex II–V, but not complex I, with no difference in mitochondrial DNA content. Transcriptomic analysis of primary myotube cultures established from biopsies did not display any differentially expressed genes between controls and PCOS. Comparison of gene expression profiles in skeletal muscle biopsies and primary myotube cultures showed lower expression of mitochondrial and energy metabolism-related genes in vitro, irrespective of the group. Together, our results show that the altered mitochondrial-associated gene expression in skeletal muscle in PCOS is not preserved in cultured myotubes, indicating that the in vivo extracellular milieu, rather than genetic or epigenetic factors, may drive this alteration. Dysregulation of mitochondrial-associated genes in skeletal muscle by extracellular factors may contribute to the impaired energy metabolism associated with PCOS.

Free access

Wiktoria Ratajczak, Sarah D Atkinson, and Catriona Kelly

TNFAIP3 encodes a zinc finger protein called A20, which has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties. A20 promotes beta-cell survival and protects against islet graft rejection in experimental models. The current study sought to investigate the mechanisms underlying the protective role of A20 in the pancreatic beta-cell. Two islet cell types were used for experiments: the insulin-secreting BRIN-BD11 cell line and human islet cells. A20 was silenced using siRNA against TNFAIP3, and knockdown was confirmed by qPCR and immunostaining of cells. Cell viability, cytotoxicity and apoptosis were assessed using the ApotoxGlo assay. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and production of inflammatory cytokines (TNFa, IL1b and IFNg) were measured by ELISA. Expression of beta-cell regulatory genes (Abcc8, Kcnj11, Kcnq1, Gck, Scl2a2) and transcription factors (Hnf1a, Pdx1, Nkx6.1, Ngn3) was determined by qPCR. A20 deficiency increased apoptosis, impaired glucose-induced insulin secretion, and reduced expression of beta-cell regulatory genes and transcription factors. Addition of recombinant A20 normalized gene expression profiles. TNFa, IL1b and IFNg were elevated in A20 deficient cells and found to independently elicit changes in gene expression. Analysis of PCR array data suggests that A20 action in the beta cell is largely, although not exclusively, driven by the P65 subunit of NF-kB. The current report demonstrates a role for A20 in controlling beta-cell integrity and survival, which likely results from the regulation of inflammatory signalling. Of particular note is the impact that A20 deficiency has on the expression of transcription factors regulating the maturation and normal function of beta cells.

Free access

Helena Kerp, Kostja Renko, Georg Sebastian Hönes, Klaudia Brix, Josef Köhrle, Lars Christian Moeller, and Dagmar Führer

Thyroid hormone (TH) metabolism and cellular TH action are influenced by ageing. To investigate the response to thyroxine (T4) overtreatment, a kinetic study was conducted in young and aged mice with chronic hyperthyroidism and hormone withdrawal. Five and 22 months old male mice were treated with T4 or PBS over 5 weeks, followed by observation for up to 12 days. Serial analysis was performed for thyroid function parameters, transcript levels of TH target genes, deiodinase type 1 (DIO1) activity as well as serum lipids at 12, 24, 72, 144, 216, and 288 h after cessation of T4 administration. Higher FT3 concentrations and higher renal DIO1 activities were noted in aged mice 12 h after T4 withdrawal and marked thyroid-stimulating hormone elevation was found in aged mice after 12 days compared to respective controls. A biphasic expression pattern occurred for TH target genes in all organs and a hypothyroid organ state was observed at the end of the study, despite normalization of TH serum concentrations after 72 h. In line with this, mirror-image kinetics were detected for serum cholesterol and triglycerides in aged and young mice. Recovery from TH overtreatment in mice involves short- and medium-term adaption of TH metabolism on systemic and organ levels. Increased renal DIO1 activity may contribute to higher T3 concentrations and prolonged thyrotoxicosis followed by hypothyroidism in an aged-mouse organism. Translation of these findings in the clinical setting seems warranted and may lead to better management of hyperthyroidism and prevention of T4 overtreatment in aged patients.

Free access

Iad Alhallak, Keith G Wolter, Ana Castro Munoz, Frank A Simmen, Richard J Ward, Stacy A Petty, Lin-Xi Li, and Rosalia C M Simmen

Epidemiological studies inversely associate BMI with breast cancer risk in premenopausal women, but the pathophysiological linkage remains ill-defined. Despite the documented relevance of the ‘local’ environment to breast cancer progression and the well-accepted differences in transcriptome and metabolic properties of anatomically distinct fat depots, specific breast adipose contributions to the proliferative potential of non-diseased breast glandular compartment are not fully understood. To address early breast cancer causation in the context of obesity status, we compared the cellular and molecular phenotypes of breast adipose and matched breast glandular tissue from premenopausal non-obese (mean BMI = 27 kg/m2) and obese (mean BMI = 44 kg/m2) women. Breast adipose from obese women showed higher expression levels of adipogenic, pro-inflammatory, and estrogen synthetic genes than from non-obese women. Obese breast glandular tissue displayed lower proliferation and inflammatory status and higher expression of anti-proliferative/pro-senescence biomarkers TP53 and p21 than from non-obese women. Transcript levels for T-cell receptor and co-receptors CD3 and CD4 were higher in breast adipose of obese cohorts, coincident with elevated adipose interleukin 10 (IL10) and FOXP3 gene expression. In human breast epithelial cell lines MCF10A and HMEC, recombinant human IL10 reduced cell viability and CCND1 transcript levels, increased those of TP53 and p21, and promoted (MCF10A) apoptosis. Our findings suggest that breast adipose-associated IL10 may mediate paracrine interactions between non-diseased breast adipose and breast glandular compartments and highlight how breast adipose may program the local inflammatory milieu, partly by recruiting FOXP3+ T regulatory cells, to influence premenopausal breast cancer risk.

Free access

Jeff S Chueh, Kang-Yung Peng, Vin-Cent Wu, Shuo-Meng Wang, Chieh-Kai Chan, Yung-Ming Chen, Yi-Yu Ke, Chien-Yuan Pan, and Hung-Wei Liao

Somatic mutation in the KCNJ5 gene is a common driver of autonomous aldosterone overproduction in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APA). KCNJ5 mutations contribute to a loss of potassium selectivity, and an inward Na+ current could be detected in cells transfected with mutated KCNJ5. Among 223 unilateral primary aldosteronism (uPA) individuals with a KCNJ5 mutation, we identified 6 adenomas with a KCNJ5 p.Gly387Arg (G387R) mutation, previously unreported in uPA patients. The six uPA patients harboring mutant KCNJ5-G387R were older, had a longer hypertensive history, and had milder elevated preoperative plasma aldosterone levels than those APA patients with more frequently detected KCNJ5 mutations. CYP11B2 immunohistochemical staining was only positive in three adenomas, while the other three had co-existing multiple aldosterone-producing micronodules. The bioinformatics analysis predicted that function of the KCNJ5-G387R mutant channel could be pathological. However, the electrophysiological experiment demonstrated that transfected G387R mutant cells did not have an aberrantly stimulated ion current, with lower CYP11B2 synthesis and aldosterone production, when compared to that of the more frequently detected mutant KCNJ5-L168R transfected cells. In conclusion, mutant KCNJ5-G387R is not a functional KCNJ5 mutation in unilateral PA. Compared with other KCNJ5 mutations, the observed mildly elevated aldosterone expression actually hindered the clinical identification of clinical unilateral PA. The KCNJ5-G387R mutation needs to be distinguished from functional KCNJ5 mutations during genomic analysis in APA evaluation because of its functional silence.

Open access

Kate E Lines, Anna K Gluck, Supat Thongjuea, Chas Bountra, Rajesh V Thakker, and Caroline M Gorvin

Corticotrophinomas represent 10% of all surgically removed pituitary adenomas, however, current treatment options are often not effective, and there is a need for improved pharmacological treatments. Recently, JQ1+, a bromodomain inhibitor that promotes gene transcription by binding acetylated histone residues and recruiting transcriptional machinery, has been shown to reduce proliferation in a murine corticotroph cell line, AtT20. RNA-Seq analysis of AtT20 cells following treatment with JQ1+ identified the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) gene as significantly downregulated, which was subsequently confirmed using real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. CaSR is a G protein-coupled receptor that plays a central role in calcium homeostasis but can elicit non-calcitropic effects in multiple tissues, including the anterior pituitary where it helps regulate hormone secretion. However, in AtT20 cells, CaSR activates a tumour-specific cAMP pathway that promotes ACTH and PTHrP hypersecretion. We hypothesised that the Casr promoter may harbour binding sites for BET proteins, and using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-sequencing demonstrated that the BET protein Brd3 binds to the promoter of the Casr gene. Assessment of CaSR signalling showed that JQ1+ significantly reduced Ca2+ e-mediated increases in intracellular calcium (Ca2+ i) mobilisation and cAMP signalling. However, the CaSR-negative allosteric modulator, NPS-2143, was unable to reduce AtT20 cell proliferation, indicating that reducing CaSR expression rather than activity is likely required to reduce pituitary cell proliferation. Thus, these studies demonstrate that reducing CaSR expression may be a viable option in the treatment of pituitary tumours. Moreover, current strategies to reduce CaSR activity, rather than protein expression for cancer treatments, may be ineffective.

Free access

Yingying Zhu, Weiwei Liu, Shuaigao Chen, Fanxing Xu, Luxin Zhang, Toshihiko Hayashi, Kazunori Mizuno, Shunji Hattori, Hitomi Fujisaki, and Takashi Ikejima

Type I collagen (collagen I) is the most abundant component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the pancreas. We previously reported that collagen I-coated culture dishes enhanced proliferation of rat pancreatic β cell line, INS-1 cells, via up-regulation of β-catenin nuclear translocation. In this study, we further investigated the effects of collagen I on insulin production of INS-1 cells. The results indicate that insulin synthesis as well as cell proliferation is increased in the INS-1 cells cultured on the dishes coated with collagen I. Up-regulation of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) on the INS-1 cells cultured on the collagen-coated dishes is involved in up-regulation of cell proliferation and increase of insulin biosynthesis; however, up-regulation of insulin secretion in the INS-1 cells on collagen I-coated dishes was further enhanced by inhibition of IGF-1R. Autophagy of INS-1 cells on collagen I-coated dishes was repressed via IGF-1R upregulation, and inhibition of autophagy with 3MA further enhanced cell proliferation and insulin biosynthesis but did not affect insulin secretion. E-cadherin/β-catenin adherent junction complexes are stabilized by autophagy. That is, autophagy negatively regulates the nuclear translocation of β-catenin that leads to insulin biosynthesis and cell proliferation. In conclusion, IGF-1R/downregulation of autophagy/nuclear translocation of β-catenin is involved in collagen I-induced INS-1 cell proliferation and insulin synthesis.

Free access

Kanchana Suksri, Namoiy Semprasert, Mutita Junking, Suchanoot Kutpruek, Thawornchai Limjindaporn, Pa-thai Yenchitsomanus, and Suwattanee Kooptiwut

Long-term medication with dexamethasone – a synthetic glucocorticoid (GC) drug – results in hyperglycemia, or steroid-induced diabetes. Although recent studies revealed that dexamethasone directly induces pancreatic β-cell apoptosis, its molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In our initial analysis of mRNA transcripts, we discovered the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway may be involved in dexamethasone-induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis. In the present study, a mechanism of dexamethasone-induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis through the TRAIL pathway was investigated in cultured cells and isolated mouse islets. INS-1 cells were cultured with and without dexamethasone in the presence or absence of a glucocorticoid receptor (GR) inhibitor, RU486. We found that dexamethasone induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis in association with the upregulation of TNSF10 (TRAIL) mRNA and protein expression. Moreover, dexamethasone upregulated the TRAIL death receptor (DR5) protein but suppressed the decoy receptor (DcR1) protein. Similar findings were observed in mouse isolated islets: dexamethasone increased TRAIL and DR5 compared to that of control mice. Furthermore, dexamethasone stimulated pro-apoptotic signaling including superoxide production, caspase-8, -9, and -3 activities, NF-κB, and Bax but repressed the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2. All these effects were inhibited by the GR-inhibitor, RU486. Furthermore, knock-down DR5 decreased dexamethasone-induced caspase 3 activity. Caspase-8 and caspase-9 inhibitors protected pancreatic β-cells from dexamethasone-induced apoptosis. Taken together, dexamethasone induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis by binding to the GR and inducing DR5 and TRAIL pathway.

Free access

Yuka Ono and Kohsuke Kataoka

Glucose transporter type 2 (GLUT2), encoded by the SLC2A2 gene, is an essential component of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in pancreatic islet β-cells. Like that of the gene encoding insulin, expression of the SLC2A2 gene expression is closely linked to β-cell functionality in rodents, but the mechanism by which β-cell-specific expression of SLC2A2 is controlled remains unclear. In this report, to identify putative enhancer elements of the mouse Slc2a2 gene, we examined evolutional conservation of the nucleotide sequence of its genomic locus, together with ChIP-seq data of histone modifications and various transcription factors published in previous studies. Using luciferase reporter assays, we found that an evolutionarily conserved region (ECR) located approximately 40 kbp downstream of the transcription start site of Slc2a2 functions as an active enhancer in the MIN6 β-cell line. We also found that three β-cell-enriched transcription factors, MafA, NeuroD1, and HNF1β, synergistically activate transcription through this 3’ downstream distal enhancer (ECR3’) and the proximal promoter region of the gene. Our data also indicate that the simultaneous binding of HNF1β to its target sites within the promoter and ECR3’ of Slc2a2 is indispensable for transcriptional activation, and that binding of MafA and NeuroD1 to their respective target sites within the ECR3’ enhances transcription. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments suggested that MafA, NeuroD1, and HNF1β interact with each other. Overall, these results suggest that promoter-enhancer communication through MafA, NeuroD1, and HNF1β is critical for Slc2a2 gene expression. These findings provide clues to help elucidate the mechanism of regulation of Slc2a2 gene expression in β-cells.