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There is a known inverse association between type 2 diabetes (T2D) and prostate cancer (PrCa) that is poorly understood. Genetic studies of the T2D-PrCa association may provide insight into the underlying mechanisms of this association. We evaluated associations in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study between PrCa and nine T2D single nucleotide polymorphisms from genome-wide association studies of T2D (in CDKAL1, CDKN2A/B, FTO, HHEX, IGF2BP2, KCNJ11, PPARG, SLC30A8, and TCF7L2) and four T2D single nucleotide polymorphisms from pre-genome-wide association studies (in ADRB2, CAPN10, SLC2A2, and UCP2). From 1987 to 2000, there were 397 incident PrCa cases among 6,642 men ages 45 to 64 years at baseline. We used race-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models to estimate associations between PrCa and increasing number of T2D risk-raising alleles. PrCa was positively associated with the CAPN10 rs3792267 G allele [hazard ratio (HR) 1.20; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.00-1.44] and inversely associated with the SLC2A2 rs5400 Thr110 allele (HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.72, 1.00), the UCP2 rs660339 Val55 allele (HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.73, 0.97) and the IGF2BP2 rs4402960 T allele (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.61-1.02; blacks only). The TCF7L2 rs7903146 T allele was inversely associated with PrCa using a dominant genetic model (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65-0.97). Further knowledge of T2D gene-PrCa mechanisms may improve understanding of PrCa etiology.
von Hippel Lindau (VHL) disease is a hereditary cancer syndrome caused by biallelic inactivation of the VHL tumor suppressor gene. The most widely known function of VHL is to limit normoxic protein expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-alpha (HIF-alpha). Loss of the functional VHL gene causes constitutive stabilization of HIF-alpha that primarily up-regulates hypoxia-inducible genes even at normal oxygen concentration, which in turn contribute to VHL tumor progression. We report on the novel function of VHL in hepatic glucose storage and disposal. VHL deletion in adult mouse liver quickly leads to increased accumulation of glycogen granules as well as lipid droplets. This abnormal glycogen storage in VHL-inactivated liver arises at least in part from significantly reduced expression of two key liver-specific glucose metabolism genes, glucose transporter-2 (GLUT2) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G-6-Pase). The expression pattern of these genes in VHL knock-out liver was in contrast to that of well-known HIF target genes, such as PGK, Glut-1, VEGF, and EPO, all of which are highly elevated upon VHL inactivation. Our findings suggest that two distinct signaling pathways exist at the downstream of VHL controlling different sets of gene expression. Following VHL inactivation, one pathway causes oxygen-independent overexpression of classic hypoxia-inducible genes and the other one described here suppresses expression of the genes important for liver glucose metabolism.
The Onecut homeodomain transcription factor hepatic nuclear factor 6 (Hnf6) is necessary for proper development of islet beta-cells. Hnf6 is initially expressed throughout the pancreatic epithelium but is downregulated in endocrine cells at late gestation and is not expressed in postnatal islets. Transgenic mice in which Hnf6 expression is maintained in postnatal islets (pdx1(PB)Hnf6) show overt diabetes and impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) at weaning. We now define the mechanism whereby maintenance of Hnf6 expression postnatally leads to beta-cell dysfunction. We provide evidence that continued expression of Hnf6 impairs GSIS by altering insulin granule biosynthesis, resulting in a reduced response to secretagogues. Sustained expression of Hnf6 also results in downregulation of the beta-cell-specific transcription factor MafA and a decrease in total pancreatic insulin. These results suggest that downregulation of Hnf6 expression in beta-cells during development is essential to achieve a mature, glucose-responsive beta-cell.
Neural and endocrine factors (i.e., Ach and GLP-1) restore defective glucose-stimulated insulin release in pancreatic islets lacking sulfonylurea type 1 receptors (SUR1(-/-)) (Doliba NM, Qin W, Vatamaniuk MZ, Li C, Zelent D, Najafi H, Buettger CW, Collins HW, Carr RD, Magnuson MA, and Matschinsky FM. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 286: E834-E843, 2004). The goal of the present study was to assess fuel-induced respiration in SUR1(-/-) islets and to correlate it with changes in intracellular Ca(2+), insulin, and glucagon secretion. By use of a method based on O(2) quenching of phosphorescence, the O(2) consumption rate (OCR) of isolated islets was measured online in a perifusion system. Basal insulin release (IR) was 7-10 times higher in SUR1(-/-) compared with control (CON) islets, but the OCR was comparable. The effect of high glucose (16.7 mM) on IR and OCR was markedly reduced in SUR1(-/-) islets compared with CON. Ach (0.5 microM) in the presence of 16.7 mM glucose caused a large burst of IR in CON and SUR1(-/-) islets with minor changes in OCR in both groups of islets. In SUR1(-/-) islets, high glucose failed to inhibit glucagon secretion during stimulation with amino acids or Ach. We conclude that 1) reduced glucose responsiveness of SUR1(-/-) islets may be in part due to impaired energetics, as evidenced by significant decrease in glucose-stimulated OCR; 2) elevated intracellular Ca(2+) levels may contribute to altered insulin and glucagon secretion in SUR1(-/-) islets; and 3) The amplitudes of the changes in OCR during glucose and Ach stimulation do not correlate with IR in normal and SUR1(-/-) islets suggesting that the energy requirements for exocytosis are minor compared with other ATP-consuming reactions.
Overexpression of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in the beta-cell of transgenic mice enhances beta-cell proliferation, survival, and function. In the current studies, we have used conditional ablation of the c-met gene to uncover the physiological role of HGF in beta-cell growth and function. Mice in which c-met is inactivated in the beta-cell (MetCKO mice) display normal body weight, blood glucose, and plasma insulin compared with control littermates. In contrast, MetCKO mice displayed significantly diminished glucose tolerance and reduced plasma insulin after a glucose challenge in vivo. This impaired glucose tolerance in MetCKO mice was not caused by insulin resistance because sensitivity to exogenous insulin was similar in both groups. Importantly, in vitro glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in MetCKO islets was decreased by approximately 50% at high glucose concentrations compared with control islets. Furthermore, whereas insulin and glucokinase expression in MetCKO islets were normal, GLUT-2 expression was decreased by approximately 50%. These changes in beta-cell function in MetCKO mice were not accompanied by changes in total beta-cell mass, islet morphology, islet cell composition, and beta-cell proliferation. Interestingly, however, MetCKO mice display an increased number of small islets, mainly single and doublet beta-cells. We conclude that HGF/c-met signaling in the beta-cell is not essential for beta-cell growth, but it is essential for normal glucose-dependent insulin secretion.
Consensus-binding sites for many transcription factors are relatively non-selective and found at high frequency within the genome. This raises the possibility that factors that are capable of binding to a cis-acting element in vitro and regulating transcription from a transiently transfected plasmid, which would not have higher order chromatin structure, may not occupy this site within the endogenous gene. Closed chromatin structure and competition from another DNA-binding protein with similar nucleotide specificity are two possible mechanisms by which a transcription factor may be excluded from a potential binding site in vivo. Multiple transcription factors, including Pdx-1, BETA-2, and Pax6, have been implicated in expression of the insulin gene in pancreatic beta cells. In this study, the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay has been used to show that these factors do, in fact, bind to insulin control region sequences in intact beta cells. In addition, another key islet-enriched transcription factor, Nkx2.2, was found to occupy this region using the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. In vitro DNA-binding and transient transfection assays defined how Nkx2.2 affected insulin gene expression. Pdx-1 was also shown to bind within a region of the endogenous islet amyloid polypeptide, pax-4, and glucokinase genes that were associated with control in vitro. Because Pdx-1 does not regulate gene transcription in isolation, these sequences were examined for occupancy by the other insulin transcriptional regulators. BETA-2, Pax6, and Nkx2.2 were also found to bind to amyloid polypeptide, glucokinase, and pax-4 control sequences in vivo. These studies reveal the broad application of the Pdx-1, BETA-2, Pax6, and Nkx2.2 transcription factors in regulating expression of genes selectively expressed in islet beta cells.
We used transgenesis to explore the requirement for downregulation of hepatocyte nuclear factor 6 (HNF6) expression in the assembly, differentiation, and function of pancreatic islets. In vivo, HNF6 expression becomes downregulated in pancreatic endocrine cells at 18. 5 days post coitum (d.p.c.), when definitive islets first begin to organize. We used an islet-specific regulatory element (pdx1(PB)) from pancreatic/duodenal homeobox (pdx1) gene to maintain HNF6 expression in endocrine cells beyond 18.5 d.p.c. Transgenic animals were diabetic. HNF6-overexpressing islets were hyperplastic and remained very close to the pancreatic ducts. Strikingly, alpha, delta, and PP cells were increased in number and abnormally intermingled with islet beta cells. Although several mature beta cell markers were expressed in beta cells of transgenic islets, the glucose transporter GLUT2 was absent or severely reduced. As glucose uptake/metabolism is essential for insulin secretion, decreased GLUT2 may contribute to the etiology of diabetes in pdx1(PB)-HNF6 transgenics. Concordantly, blood insulin was not raised by glucose challenge, suggesting profound beta cell dysfunction. Thus, we have shown that HNF6 downregulation during islet ontogeny is critical to normal pancreas formation and function: continued expression impairs the clustering of endocrine cells and their separation from the ductal epithelium, disrupts the spatial organization of endocrine cell types within the islet, and severely compromises beta cell physiology, leading to overt diabetes.
GLUT2 is the major glucose transporter in pancreatic beta-cells and hepatocytes. It plays an important role in insulin secretion from beta-cells and glucose metabolism in hepatocytes. To better understand the molecular determinants for GLUT2's distinctive glucose affinity and its ability to transport fructose, we constructed a series of chimeric GLUT2/GLUT3 proteins and analyzed them in both Xenopus oocytes and mammalian cells. The results showed the following. 1) GLUT3/GLUT2 chimera containing a region from transmembrane segment 9 to part of the COOH-terminus of GLUT2 had Km values for 3-O-methylglucose similar to those of wild-type GLUT2. Further narrowing of the GLUT2 component in the chimeric GLUTs lowered the Km values to those of wild-type GLUT3. 2) GLUT3/GLUT2 chimera containing a region from transmembrane segment 7 to part of the COOH-terminus of GLUT2 retained the ability to transport fructose. Further narrowing of this region in the chimeric GLUTs resulted in a complete loss of the fructose transport ability. 3) Chimeric GLUTs with the NH2-terminal portion of GLUT2 were unable to express glucose transporter proteins in either Xenopus oocytes or mammalian RIN 1046-38 cells. These results indicate that amino acid sequences in transmembrane segments 9-12 are primarily responsible for GLUT2's distinctive glucose affinity, whereas amino acid sequences in transmembrane segments 7-8 enable GLUT2 to transport fructose. In addition, certain region(s) of the amino-terminus of GLUT2 impose strict structural requirements on the carboxy-terminus of the glucose transporter protein. Interactions between these regions and the carboxy-terminus of GLUT2 are essential for GLUT2 expression.
It has been proposed that the Xenopus homeobox gene, XlHbox8, is involved in endodermal differentiation during pancreatic and duodenal development (Wright, C.V.E., Schnegelsberg, P. and De Robertis, E.M. (1988). Development 105, 787-794). To test this hypothesis directly, gene targeting was used to make two different null mutations in the mouse XlHbox8 homolog, pdx-1. In the first, the second pdx-1 exon, including the homeobox, was replaced by a neomycin resistance cassette. In the second, a lacZ reporter was fused in-frame with the N terminus of PDX-1, replacing most of the homeodomain. Neonatal pdx-1 -/- mice are apancreatic, in confirmation of previous reports (Jonsson, J., Carlsson, L., Edlund, T. and Edlund, H. (1994). Nature 371, 606-609). However, the pancreatic buds do form in homozygous mutants, and the dorsal bud undergoes limited proliferation and outgrowth to form a small, irregularly branched, ductular tree. This outgrowth does not contain insulin or amylase-positive cells, but glucagon-expressing cells are found. The rostral duodenum shows a local absence of the normal columnar epithelial lining, villi, and Brunner's glands, which are replaced by a GLUT2-positive cuboidal epithelium resembling the bile duct lining. Just distal of the abnormal epithelium, the numbers of enteroendocrine cells in the villi are greatly reduced. The PDX-1/beta-galactosidase fusion allele is expressed in pancreatic and duodenal cells in the absence of functional PDX-1, with expression continuing into perinatal stages with similar boundaries and expression levels. These results offer additional insight into the role of pdx-1 in the determination and differentiation of the posterior foregut, particularly regarding the proliferation and differentiation of the pancreatic progenitors.
A transgene consisting of an upstream glucokinase (GK) promoter fragment linked to coding sequences of the human growth hormone gene was expressed in certain neuroendocrine cells of the pancreas, pituitary, brain, gut, thyroid, and lungs of mice. In pancreas, the transgene was expressed in a nonuniform manner among beta cells and in a variable but substantial fraction of the other islet cell types. In pituitary, it was expressed in corticotropes, and in brain, it was expressed in cells of the medial hypothalamus. Within the gut transgene expression was detected in a subset of enteroendocrine cells of the stomach and duodenal epithelium, some of which also exhibited glucagon-like polypeptide-1 immunoreactivity. In thyroid, transgene expression was observed in C cells of neonatal animals, whereas in the lung, it was expressed among rare endocrine cells of the bronchopulmonary mucosa. RNA polymerase chain reaction analysis of human growth hormone mRNA corroborated the tissue-specific transgene expression pattern. Prompted by the finding of transgene expression in specific neuroendocrine cells, we sought to determine whether GK mRNA and GK itself was also expressed in the brain and gut, tissues not previously associated with the expression of this enzyme. Using rat tissues, GK mRNA was detected by RNA polymerase chain reaction in both the brain and intestine and was localized to specific cells in the hypothalamus and enteric mucosa by in situ hybridization. A high Km glucose phosphorylating activity was detected from isolated rat jejunal enterocytes that displayed a chromatographic elution profile identical to hepatic GK. GK immunoreactivity was detected in cells of the medial hypothalamus with many of the same cells also displaying GLUT2 immunoreactivity. Together, these studies provide evidence for upstream GK promoter activity, GK mRNA, and GK itself in certain neuroendocrine cells outside the pancreatic islet and lead us to suggest that GK may play a broader role in glucose sensing by neuroendocrine cells than was thought previously.