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NM Morton, V Emilsson, P de Groot, AL Pallett, and MA Cawthorne

Leptin is a cytokine secreted from adipose tissue at a rate commensurate with the size of the body's fat stores. In addition to its anorectic and thermogenic central actions, leptin is known to act on peripheral tissues, including the pancreatic beta-cell where it inhibits insulin secretion and reduces insulin transcript levels. However, the role of leptin signalling through its full-length receptor, OB-Rb, in the beta-cell remains unclear. In the present study, we show that leptin activates a signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3 signalling mechanism in pancreatic islets and in a rat model of the pancreatic beta-cell, RINm5F. Leptin induced DNA binding to a STAT consensus oligonucleotide and resulted in transcriptional activation from STAT reporter constructs in a manner consistent with STAT3 activation. Western blot analysis confirmed activation of STAT3 in RINm5F and isolated rat islets. Conditions that mimic increased metabolic activity resulted in attenuation of leptin-mediated STAT DNA binding but had no significant effect on STAT3 tyrosine phosphorylation in RINm5F cells. In addition, leptin activated the mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway in RINm5F cells. The present study provides a framework for OB-Rb signalling mechanisms in the programming of the beta-cell by leptin and suggests that increased metabolic activity may modulate this function.

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M. C. Slootweg, R. P. de Groot, M. P. M. Herrmann-Erlee, I. Koornneef, W. Kruijer, and Y. M. Kramer


Although the structure of several members of the GH receptor family has been defined, signal transduction following GH binding to its receptor has not been elucidated. Mouse osteoblasts were used to study the effect of GH on immediate early gene expression and, subsequently, the cellular signal(s) mediating this expression were analysed. GH rapidly and transiently induced the expression of c-jun and jun B in concert with the already reported expression of c-fos. The GH-induced expression of c-fos was completely blocked by the protein kinase inhibitors staurosporine and H7, indicating that the action of GH is mediated by one or several protein kinases. We next analysed the identity of the putative protein kinases in more detail by using a more specific protein kinase inhibitor, namely the ether-lipid 1-O-alkyl-2-O-methylglycerol, understood to be an inhibitor of protein kinase C (PKC). Data obtained from these studies revealed that GH-induced expression of c-fos is mediated by PKC. In addition, we observed a profound increase in formation of the PKC activator diacyglycerol upon addition of GH, a natural activator of PKC.

In conclusion, upon binding of GH to mouse osteoblasts, the receptor-mediated cellular signal involves diacyglycerol formation and activation of PKC, leading to the induction of oncogene expression. Finally, the expression of c-fos, c-jun and jun B results in an increased binding of protein complexes to AP-1 binding sites.