Insulin receptor (IR) translocates to the nucleus, but its recruitment to gene loci has not been demonstrated. Here, we tested the hypothesis that IR and its downstream mitogenic transducers are corecruited to two prototypic insulin-inducible genes: early growth response 1 (egr-1), involved in mitogenic response, and glucokinase (Gck), encoding a key metabolic enzyme.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We used RNA and chromatin from insulin-treated rat hepatic tumor cell line expressing human insulin receptor (HTC-IR) and livers from lean and insulin-resistant ob/ob glucose-fed mice in quantitative RT-PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies to determine gene expression levels and associated recruitment of RNA polymerase II (Pol II), insulin receptor, and cognate signaling proteins to gene loci, respectively.
Insulin-induced egr-1 mRNA in HTC-IR cells was associated with corecruitment of IR signaling cascade (IR, SOS, Grb2, B-Raf, MEK, and ERK) to this gene. Recruitment profiles of phosphorylated IR, B-Raf, MEK, and Erk along egr-1 transcribed region were similar to those of elongating Pol II. Glucose-feeding increased Gck mRNA expression in livers of lean but not ob/ob mice. In lean mice, there was glucose feeding-induced recruitment of IR and its transducers to Gck gene synchronized with elongating Pol II. In sharp contrast, in glucose-fed ob/ob mice, the Gck recruitment patterns of active MEK/Erk, IR, and Pol II were asynchronous.
IR and its signal transducers recruited to genes coupled to elongating Pol II may play a role in maintaining productive mRNA synthesis of target genes. These studies suggest a possibility that impaired Pol II processivity along genes bearing aberrant levels of IR/signal transducers is a previously unrecognized facet of insulin resistance.