Islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein (IGRP/G6PC2) is a major autoantigen in both mouse and human type 1 diabetes. IGRP is selectively expressed in islet β cells and polymorphisms in the IGRP gene have recently been associated with variations in fasting blood glucose levels and cardiovascular-associated mortality in humans. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays have shown that the IGRP promoter binds the islet-enriched transcription factors Pax-6 and BETA2. We show here, again using ChIP assays, that the IGRP promoter also binds the islet-enriched transcription factors MafA and Foxa2. Single binding sites for these factors were identified in the proximal IGRP promoter, mutation of which resulted in decreased IGRP fusion gene expression in βTC-3, Hamster insulinoma tumor (HIT), and Min6 cells. ChiP assays have shown that the islet-enriched transcription factor Pdx-1 also binds the IGRP promoter, but mutational analysis of four Pdx-1 binding sites in the proximal IGRP promoter revealed surprisingly little effect of Pdx-1 binding on IGRP fusion gene expression in βTC-3 cells. In contrast, in both HIT and Min6 cells mutation of these four Pdx-1 binding sites resulted in a ∼50% reduction in fusion gene expression. These data suggest that the same group of islet-enriched transcription factors, namely Pdx-1, Pax-6, MafA, BETA2, and Foxa2, directly or indirectly regulate expression of the two major autoantigens in type 1 diabetes.
Cyrus C Martin, Brian P Flemming, Yingda Wang, James K Oeser and Richard M O'Brien
Kayla A Boortz, Kristen E Syring, Lynley D Pound, Huan Mo, Lisa Bastarache, James K Oeser, Owen P McGuinness, Joshua C Denny and Richard M O’Brien
Genome-wide association study (GWAS) data have linked the G6PC2 gene to variations in fasting blood glucose (FBG). G6PC2 encodes an islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit that forms a substrate cycle with the beta cell glucose sensor glucokinase. This cycle modulates the glucose sensitivity of insulin secretion and hence FBG. GWAS data have not linked G6PC2 to variations in body weight but we previously reported that female C57BL/6J G6pc2-knockout (KO) mice were lighter than wild-type littermates on both a chow and high-fat diet. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of G6pc2 deletion on FBG and body weight in both chow-fed and high-fat-fed mice on two other genetic backgrounds. FBG was reduced in G6pc2 KO mice largely independent of gender, genetic background or diet. In contrast, the effect of G6pc2 deletion on body weight was markedly influenced by these variables. Deletion of G6pc2 conferred a marked protection against diet-induced obesity in male mixed genetic background mice, whereas in 129SvEv mice deletion of G6pc2 had no effect on body weight. G6pc2 deletion also reduced plasma cholesterol levels in a manner dependent on gender, genetic background and diet. An association between G6PC2 and plasma cholesterol was also observed in humans through electronic health record-derived phenotype analyses. These observations suggest that the action of G6PC2 on FBG is largely independent of the influences of environment, modifier genes or epigenetic events, whereas the action of G6PC2 on body weight and cholesterol are influenced by unknown variables.
Lynley D Pound, Suparna A Sarkar, Stéphane Cauchi, Yingda Wang, James K Oeser, Catherine E Lee, Philippe Froguel, John C Hutton and Richard M O'Brien
Genome-wide association studies have shown that a polymorphic variant in SLC30A8, which encodes zinc transporter-8, is associated with altered susceptibility to type 2 diabetes (T2D). This association is consistent with the observation that glucose-stimulated insulin secretion is decreased in islets isolated from Slc30a8 knockout mice. In this study, immunohistochemical staining was first used to show that SLC30A8 is expressed specifically in pancreatic islets. Fusion gene studies were then used to examine the molecular basis for the islet-specific expression of SLC30A8. The analysis of SLC30A8-luciferase expression in βTC-3 cells revealed that the proximal promoter region, located between −6154 and −1, relative to the translation start site, was only active in stable but not transient transfections. VISTA analyses identified three regions in the SLC30A8 promoter and a region in SLC30A8 intron 2 that are conserved in the mouse Slc30a8 gene. Additional fusion gene experiments demonstrated that none of these Slc30a8 promoter regions exhibited enhancer activity when ligated to a heterologous promoter whereas the conserved region in SLC30A8 intron 2 conferred elevated reporter gene expression selectively in βTC-3 but not in αTC-6 cells. Finally, the functional effects of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs62510556, in this conserved intron 2 enhancer were investigated. Gel retardation studies showed that rs62510556 affects the binding of an unknown transcription factor and fusion gene analyses showed that it modulates enhancer activity. However, genetic analyses suggest that this SNP is not a causal variant that contributes to the association between SLC30A8 and T2D, at least in Europeans.
Karin J Bosma, Mohsin Rahim, Kritika Singh, Slavina B Goleva, Martha L Wall, Jing Xia, Kristen E Syring, James K Oeser, Greg Poffenberger, Owen P McGuinness, Anna L Means, Alvin C Powers, Wen-hong Li, Lea K Davis, Jamey D Young and Richard M O’Brien
The G6PC1, G6PC2 and G6PC3 genes encode distinct glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit (G6PC) isoforms. In mice, germline deletion of G6pc2 lowers fasting blood glucose (FBG) without affecting fasting plasma insulin (FPI) while, in isolated islets, glucose-6-phosphatase activity and glucose cycling are abolished and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) is enhanced at submaximal but not high glucose. These observations are all consistent with a model in which G6PC2 regulates the sensitivity of GSIS to glucose by opposing the action of glucokinase. G6PC2 is highly expressed in human and mouse islet beta cells however, various studies have shown trace G6PC2 expression in multiple tissues raising the possibility that G6PC2 also affects FBG through non-islet cell actions. Using real-time PCR we show here that expression of G6pc1 and/or G6pc3 are much greater than G6pc2 in peripheral tissues, whereas G6pc2 expression is much higher than G6pc3 in both pancreas and islets with G6pc1 expression not detected. In adult mice, beta cell-specific deletion of G6pc2 was sufficient to reduce FBG without changing FPI. In addition, electronic health record-derived phenotype analyses showed no association between G6PC2 expression and phenotypes clearly unrelated to islet function in humans. Finally, we show that germline G6pc2 deletion enhances glycolysis in mouse islets and that glucose cycling can also be detected in human islets. These observations are all consistent with a mechanism by which G6PC2 action in islets is sufficient to regulate the sensitivity of GSIS to glucose and hence influence FBG without affecting FPI.