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β-Cell proliferation and expansion during pregnancy are crucial for maintaining euglycemia in response to increased metabolic demands placed on the mother. Prolactin and placental lactogen signal through the prolactin receptor (PRLR) and contribute to adaptive β-cell responses in pregnancy; however, the in vivo requirement for PRLR signaling specifically in maternal β-cell adaptations remains unknown. We generated a floxed allele of Prlr, allowing conditional loss of PRLR in β-cells. In this study, we show that loss of PRLR signaling in β-cells results in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), reduced β-cell proliferation, and failure to expand β-cell mass during pregnancy. Targeted PRLR loss in maternal β-cells in vivo impaired expression of the transcription factor Foxm1, both G1/S and G2/M cyclins, tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (Tph1), and islet serotonin production, for which synthesis requires Tph1. This conditional system also revealed that PRLR signaling is required for the transient gestational expression of the transcription factor MafB within a subset of β-cells during pregnancy. MafB deletion in maternal β-cells also produced GDM, with inadequate β-cell expansion accompanied by failure to induce PRLR-dependent target genes regulating β-cell proliferation. These results unveil molecular roles for PRLR signaling in orchestrating the physiologic expansion of maternal β-cells during pregnancy.
© 2016 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
The human growth hormone (hGH) minigene is frequently used in the derivation of transgenic mouse lines to enhance transgene expression. Although this minigene is present in the transgenes as a secondcistron, and thus not thought to be expressed, we found that three commonly used lines, Pdx1-Cre(Late), RIP-Cre, and MIP-GFP, each expressed significant amounts of hGH in pancreatic islets. Locally secreted hGH binds to prolactin receptors on β cells, activates STAT5 signaling, and induces pregnancy-like changes in gene expression, thereby augmenting pancreatic β cell mass and insulin content. In addition, islets of Pdx1-Cre(Late) mice have lower GLUT2 expression and reduced glucose-induced insulin release and are protected against the β cell toxin streptozotocin. These findings may be important when interpreting results obtained when these and other hGH minigene-containing transgenic mice are used.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Differentiation of mammary epithelium in vivo requires signaling through prolactin and ErbB4/HER4-dependent mechanisms. Although stimulation of either the prolactin receptor or ErbB4/HER4 results in activation of the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 5A (STAT5A) and induction of lactogenic differentiation, how these pathways intersect is unknown. We show herein that prolactin signaling in breast cells cooperates with and is substantially enhanced by the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB4/HER4. Prolactin and the ErbB4/HER4 ligand heparin-binding epidermal growth factor each induced STAT5A tyrosine phosphorylation and nuclear translocation; each pathway required the intracellular tyrosine kinase Janus kinase 2 (JAK2). We found that full prolactin-mediated STAT5A activation and binding to the endogenous beta-casein promoter required ErbB4/HER4 but did not require ErbB1/epidermal growth factor receptor. For example, prolactin-induced STAT5A activity was markedly diminished in cells overexpressing kinase inactive HER4, in cells transfected with small interfering RNAs to specifically knock down endogenous ErbB4/HER4 expression and in cells treated with a small molecule inhibitor that targets ErbB4 kinase. Interestingly, prolactin caused ErbB4/HER4 tyrosine phosphorylation in a JAK2 kinase-dependent manner. Finally, prolactin receptor, ErbB4/HER4, and JAK2 were coimmunoprecipitated from prolactin-treated but not untreated cells. These results suggest that prolactin signaling engages the ErbB4 pathway via JAK2 and that ErbB4 provides an important component of STAT5A-dependent lactogenic differentiation; this pathway integration may help explain the similar deficit in mammary development observed in gene-targeted mice deficient in prolactin receptor, JAK2, ErbB4, or STAT5A.
Stimulation of the PRL receptor (PRLr) results in the activation of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) p95Vav1 with corresponding alterations in cytoarchitecture and cell motility. To better understand the mechanisms involved in the regulation of Vav1 activity, the role of the tyrosine kinase p70Tec was examined. Coimmunoprecipitation and in vitro kinase assays revealed that ligand stimulation of the PRLr resulted in the rapid activation of Tec and its concomitant association with the PRLR: When coexpressed in COS-1 cells, both Vav1 and Tec were found to associate with the PRLr in the presence of ligand. In the absence of receptor, a constitutive complex between Vav1 and Tec was noted. Both Vav1 and Tec, however, were capable of independent engagement of a bipartite intracellular domain of the PRLR: Deletion mapping studies confined this interaction to residues 323 to 527 of the intracellular domain of the PRLR: Furthermore, Tec enhanced the GEF activity of Vav1 as evidenced by an increase in GTP-bound Rac1. These data would suggest a pivotal function for the formation of a Tec/Vav1/PRLr complex during PRL-driven signal transduction, given the role of Vav1 in the control of cell proliferation and the regulation of Rho family-mediated cytoskeletal alterations.
PRL and its homologs accomplish their biological effects through the PRL receptor (PRLR). We evaluated the expression and function of PRLR in the embryo and uterus during the periimplantation period because PRLR deficiency results in implantation failure. In wild-type mice, PRLR expression was localized to undecidualized stromal cells in the antimesometrial border on days 6-8 of pregnancy. A small population of PRLR-expressing cells was observed adjacent to the ectoplacental cone in the mesometrial stroma. Low levels of PRLR expression were also detected in the developing embryo on days 6-8. To determine the significance of PRLR expression in this distribution, we examined implantation and decidualization in PRLR-/- mice. Progesterone (P4) administration rescued infertility in PRLR-/- mice from the periimplantation period to midgestation. Artificially induced decidualization was absent in pseudopregnant PRLR-/- mice but was identical to wild-type in P4-treated PRLR-/- mice. Furthermore, wild-type and P4-treated PRLR-/- mice had similar expression of the implantation-specific genes, LIF, amphiregulin, HB-EGF, COX-1, COX-2, PPARdelta, Hoxa-10, cyclin-D3, VEGF, and its receptors, Flk-1 and neuropilin-1. Together, these results show that luteal P4 production via ovarian PRLR signaling is required for implantation and early pregnancy. The function of uterine PRLR remains unclear. However, the eventual loss of pregnancy in P4-treated PRLR-/- mice suggests that uterine PRLR may be essential for the support of late gestation.