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1.  Pdx1 deficiency causes mitochondrial dysfunction and defective insulin secretion through TFAM suppression 
Cell metabolism  2009;10(2):110-118.
Mutations in the transcription factor Pdx1 cause maturity-onset diabetes of the young 4 (MODY4). Islet transduction with dominant negative Pdx1 (RIPDN79PDX1) impairs mitochondrial metabolism and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Transcript profiling revealed suppression of nuclear encoded mitochondrial factor A (TFAM). Herein, we show that Pdx1 suppression in adult mice reduces islet TFAM expression coinciding with hyperglycaemia. We define TFAM as a direct target of Pdx1 both in rat INS1 cells and human islets. Adenoviral overexpression of TFAM along with RIPDN79PDX1 in isolated rat islets rescued mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number and restored respiratory chain activity as well as glucose-induced ATP synthesis and insulin secretion. CGP37157, which blocks the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, restored ATP generation and GSIS in RIPDN79PDX1 islets, thereby bypassing the transcriptional defect. Thus, the genetic control by the β-cell specific factor Pdx1 of the ubiquitous gene TFAM maintains β-cell mtDNA vital for ATP production and normal GSIS.
PMCID: PMC4012862  PMID: 19656489
2.  Calcium Co-regulates Oxidative Metabolism and ATP Synthase-dependent Respiration in Pancreatic Beta Cells 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2014;289(13):9182-9194.
Background: Nutrients stimulate calcium dependent activation of energy metabolism, in pancreatic beta cells.
Results: Glucose-induced ATP synthase-dependent respiration is strictly calcium-dependent, with little or no effect of calcium on the NAD(P)H response.
Conclusion: Calcium coordinates oxidative metabolism and respiration in pancreatic beta cells.
Significance: Calcium has novel mitochondrial targets downstream of mitochondrial dehydrogenases.
Mitochondrial energy metabolism is essential for glucose-induced calcium signaling and, therefore, insulin granule exocytosis in pancreatic beta cells. Calcium signals are sensed by mitochondria acting in concert with mitochondrial substrates for the full activation of the organelle. Here we have studied glucose-induced calcium signaling and energy metabolism in INS-1E insulinoma cells and human islet beta cells. In insulin secreting cells a surprisingly large fraction of total respiration under resting conditions is ATP synthase-independent. We observe that ATP synthase-dependent respiration is markedly increased after glucose stimulation. Glucose also causes a very rapid elevation of oxidative metabolism as was followed by NAD(P)H autofluorescence. However, neither the rate of the glucose-induced increase nor the new steady-state NAD(P)H levels are significantly affected by calcium. Our findings challenge the current view, which has focused mainly on calcium-sensitive dehydrogenases as the target for the activation of mitochondrial energy metabolism. We propose a model of tight calcium-dependent regulation of oxidative metabolism and ATP synthase-dependent respiration in beta cell mitochondria. Coordinated activation of matrix dehydrogenases and respiratory chain activity by calcium allows the respiratory rate to change severalfold with only small or no alterations of the NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+ ratio.
PMCID: PMC3979381  PMID: 24554722
Calcium; Energy Metabolism; Insulin; Islet; Mitochondria; NAD
3.  Normal Glucagon Signaling and β-Cell Function After Near-Total α-Cell Ablation in Adult Mice 
Diabetes  2011;60(11):2872-2882.
To evaluate whether healthy or diabetic adult mice can tolerate an extreme loss of pancreatic α-cells and how this sudden massive depletion affects β-cell function and blood glucose homeostasis.
We generated a new transgenic model allowing near-total α-cell removal specifically in adult mice. Massive α-cell ablation was triggered in normally grown and healthy adult animals upon diphtheria toxin (DT) administration. The metabolic status of these mice was assessed in 1) physiologic conditions, 2) a situation requiring glucagon action, and 3) after β-cell loss.
Adult transgenic mice enduring extreme (98%) α-cell removal remained healthy and did not display major defects in insulin counter-regulatory response. We observed that 2% of the normal α-cell mass produced enough glucagon to ensure near-normal glucagonemia. β-Cell function and blood glucose homeostasis remained unaltered after α-cell loss, indicating that direct local intraislet signaling between α- and β-cells is dispensable. Escaping α-cells increased their glucagon content during subsequent months, but there was no significant α-cell regeneration. Near-total α-cell ablation did not prevent hyperglycemia in mice having also undergone massive β-cell loss, indicating that a minimal amount of α-cells can still guarantee normal glucagon signaling in diabetic conditions.
An extremely low amount of α-cells is sufficient to prevent a major counter-regulatory deregulation, both under physiologic and diabetic conditions. We previously reported that α-cells reprogram to insulin production after extreme β-cell loss and now conjecture that the low α-cell requirement could be exploited in future diabetic therapies aimed at regenerating β-cells by reprogramming adult α-cells.
PMCID: PMC3198058  PMID: 21926270
4.  Defective Mitochondrial Function and Motility Due to Mitofusin 1 Overexpression in Insulin Secreting Cells 
Mitochondrial dynamics and distribution is critical for their role in bioenergetics and cell survival. We investigated the consequence of altered fission/fusion on mitochondrial function and motility in INS-1E rat clonal β-cells. Adenoviruses were used to induce doxycycline-dependent expression of wild type (WT-Mfn1) or a dominant negative mitofusin 1 mutant (DN-Mfn1). Mitochondrial morphology and motility were analyzed by monitoring mitochondrially-targeted red fluorescent protein. Adenovirus-driven overexpression of WT-Mfn1 elicited severe aggregation of mitochondria, preventing them from reaching peripheral near plasma membrane areas of the cell. Overexpression of DN-Mfn1 resulted in fragmented mitochondria with widespread cytosolic distribution. WT-Mfn1 overexpression impaired mitochondrial function as glucose- and oligomycin-induced mitochondrial hyperpolarization were markedly reduced. Viability of the INS-1E cells, however, was not affected. Mitochondrial motility was significantly reduced in WT-Mfn1 overexpressing cells. Conversely, fragmented mitochondria in DN-Mfn1 overexpressing cells showed more vigorous movement than mitochondria in control cells. Movement of these mitochondria was also less microtubule-dependent. These results suggest that Mfn1-induced hyperfusion leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and hypomotility, which may explain impaired metabolism-secretion coupling in insulin-releasing cells overexpressing Mfn1.
PMCID: PMC3298829  PMID: 22416223
Mitochondrial fusion; Mitofusin 1; Mitochondrial function; Mitochondrial motility; Insulin secretion
5.  Linking Fatty Acid Stress to β-Cell Mitochondrial Dynamics 
Diabetes  2009;58(10):2185-2186.
PMCID: PMC2750214  PMID: 19794075
6.  Functional specialization within a vesicle tethering complex 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;167(5):875-887.
The exocyst is an octameric protein complex required to tether secretory vesicles to exocytic sites and to retain ER tubules at the apical tip of budded cells. Unlike the other five exocyst genes, SEC3, SEC5, and EXO70 are not essential for growth or secretion when either the upstream activator rab, Sec4p, or the downstream SNARE-binding component, Sec1p, are overproduced. Analysis of the suppressed sec3Δ, sec5Δ, and exo70Δ strains demonstrates that the corresponding proteins confer differential effects on vesicle targeting and ER inheritance. Sec3p and Sec5p are more critical than Exo70p for ER inheritance. Although nonessential under these conditions, Sec3p, Sec5p, and Exo70p are still important for tethering, as in their absence the exocyst is only partially assembled. Sec1p overproduction results in increased SNARE complex levels, indicating a role in assembly or stabilization of SNARE complexes. Furthermore, a fraction of Sec1p can be coprecipitated with the exoycst. Our results suggest that Sec1p couples exocyst-mediated vesicle tethering with SNARE-mediated docking and fusion.
PMCID: PMC2172455  PMID: 15583030
7.  Sec3p Is Needed for the Spatial Regulation of Secretion and for the Inheritance of the Cortical Endoplasmic ReticulumV⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(12):4770-4782.
Sec3p is a component of the exocyst complex that tethers secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane at exocytic sites in preparation for fusion. Unlike all other exocyst structural genes, SEC3 is not essential for growth. Cells lacking Sec3p grow and secrete surprisingly well at 25°C; however, late markers of secretion, such as the vesicle marker Sec4p and the exocyst subunit Sec8p, localize more diffusely within the bud. Furthermore, sec3Δ cells are strikingly round relative to wild-type cells and are unable to form pointed mating projections in response to α factor. These phenotypes support the proposed role of Sec3p as a spatial landmark for secretion. We also find that cells lacking Sec3p exhibit a dramatic defect in the inheritance of cortical ER into the bud, whereas the inheritance of mitochondria and Golgi is unaffected. Overexpression of Sec3p results in a prominent patch of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker Sec61p-GFP at the bud tip. Cortical ER inheritance in yeast has been suggested to involve the capture of ER tubules at the bud tip. Sec3p may act in this process as a spatial landmark for cortical ER inheritance.
PMCID: PMC284782  PMID: 12960429
8.  Skp1p and the F-Box Protein Rcy1p Form a Non-SCF Complex Involved in Recycling of the SNARE Snc1p in Yeast 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(9):3105-3117.
Skp1p–cullin–F-box protein (SCF) complexes are ubiquitin-ligases composed of a core complex including Skp1p, Cdc53p, Hrt1p, the E2 enzyme Cdc34p, and one of multiple F-box proteins which are thought to provide substrate specificity to the complex. Here we show that the F-box protein Rcy1p is required for recycling of the v-SNARE Snc1p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Rcy1p localized to areas of polarized growth, and this polarized localization required its CAAX box and an intact actin cytoskeleton. Rcy1p interacted with Skp1p in vivo in an F-box-dependent manner, and both deletion of its F box and loss of Skp1p function impaired recycling. In contrast, cells deficient in Cdc53p, Hrt1p, or Cdc34p did not exhibit recycling defects. Unlike the case for F-box proteins that are known to participate in SCF complexes, degradation of Rcy1p required neither its F box nor functional 26S proteasomes or other SCF core subunits. Importantly, Skp1p was the only major partner that copurified with Rcy1p. Our results thus suggest that a complex composed of Rcy1p and Skp1p but not other SCF components may play a direct role in recycling of internalized proteins.
PMCID: PMC86938  PMID: 11287615
9.  The F-Box Protein Rcy1p Is Involved in Endocytic Membrane Traffic and Recycling Out of an Early Endosome in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;149(2):397-410.
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, endocytic material is transported through different membrane-bound compartments before it reaches the vacuole. In a screen for mutants that affect membrane trafficking along the endocytic pathway, we have identified a novel mutant disrupted for the gene YJL204c that we have renamed RCY1 (recycling 1). Deletion of RCY1 leads to an early block in the endocytic pathway before the intersection with the vacuolar protein sorting pathway. Mutation of RCY1 leads to the accumulation of an enlarged compartment that contains the t-SNARE Tlg1p and lies close to areas of cell expansion. In addition, endocytic markers such as Ste2p and the fluorescent dyes, Lucifer yellow and FM4-64, were found in a similar enlarged compartment after their internalization. To determine whether rcy1Δ is defective for recycling, we have developed an assay that measures the recycling of previously internalized FM4-64. This method enables us to follow the recycling pathway in yeast in real time. Using this assay, it could be demonstrated that recycling of membranes is rapid in S. cerevisiae and that a major fraction of internalized FM4-64 is secreted back into the medium within a few minutes. The rcy1Δ mutant is strongly defective in recycling.
PMCID: PMC2175155  PMID: 10769031
endocytosis; recycling; FM4-64; ubiquitin; yeast

Results 1-9 (9)