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1.  Increased Phagocyte-Like NADPH Oxidase and ROS Generation in Type 2 Diabetic ZDF Rat and Human Islets 
Diabetes  2011;60(11):2843-2852.
To determine the subunit expression and functional activation of phagocyte-like NADPH oxidase (Nox), reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and caspase-3 activation in the Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rat and diabetic human islets.
Expression of core components of Nox was quantitated by Western blotting and densitometry. ROS levels were quantitated by the 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein diacetate method. Rac1 activation was quantitated using the gold-labeled immunosorbent assay kit.
Levels of phosphorylated p47phox, active Rac1, Nox activity, ROS generation, Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) 1/2 phosphorylation, and caspase-3 activity were significantly higher in the ZDF islets than the lean control rat islets. Chronic exposure of INS 832/13 cells to glucolipotoxic conditions resulted in increased JNK1/2 phosphorylation and caspase-3 activity; such effects were largely reversed by SP600125, a selective inhibitor of JNK. Incubation of normal human islets with high glucose also increased the activation of Rac1 and Nox. Lastly, in a manner akin to the ZDF diabetic rat islets, Rac1 expression, JNK1/2, and caspase-3 activation were also significantly increased in diabetic human islets.
We provide the first in vitro and in vivo evidence in support of an accelerated Rac1–Nox–ROS–JNK1/2 signaling pathway in the islet β-cell leading to the onset of mitochondrial dysregulation in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3198065  PMID: 21911753
2.  A farnesylated G-protein suppresses Akt phosphorylation in INS 832/13 cells and normal rat islets: Regulation by pertussis toxin and PGE2 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;81(10):1237-1247.
Protein isoprenylation constitutes incorporation of either 15-carbon farnesyl or 20-carbon geranylgeranyl derivative of mevalonic acid onto the C-terminal cysteine, culminating in increased hydrophobicity of the modified proteins for optimal membrane anchoring and interaction with their respective effectors. Emerging evidence confirms the participatory role of prenylated proteins in pancreatic β-cell function including insulin secretion. Herein, we investigated the putative regulatory roles of protein farnesylation in cell survival signaling pathways in insulin-secreting INS 832/13 cells and normal rodent islets, specifically at the level of protein kinase-B/Akt phosphorylation induced by insulin-like growth factor [IGF-1]. Selective inhibitors of farnesylation [e.g., FTI-277 or FTI-2628] or knockdown of the β-subunit of farnesyl transferase by siRNA significantly increased Akt activation under basal and IGF-1-stimulated conditions. Consequentially, the relative abundance of phosphorylated FoxO1 and Bad were increased implicating inactivation of critical components of the cell death machinery. In addition, FTI-induced Akt activation was attenuated by the PI3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002. Exposure of INS 832/13 cells to pertussis toxin [PTx] markedly potentiated Akt phosphorylation suggesting involvement of a PTx-sensitive G-protein in this signaling axis. Furthermore, prostaglandin E2, a known agonist of inhibitory G-proteins, significantly attenuated FTI-induced Akt phosphorylation. Taken together, our findings suggest expression of a farnesylated G-protein in INS 832/13 cells and normal rat islets, which appear to suppress Akt activation and subsequent cell survival signaling steps. Potential regulatory roles of the islet endogenous Protein kinase-B inhibitory protein [Probin] in islet function are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3084372  PMID: 21406184
Pancreatic β-cells; protein farnesylation; Akt; FoxO; β-cell survival
3.  Arf nucleotide binding site opener [ARNO] promotes sequential activation of Arf6, Cdc42 and Rac1 and insulin secretion in INS 832/13 β-cells and rat islets 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;81(8):1016-1027.
Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion [GSIS] involves interplay between small G-proteins and their regulatory factors. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that Arf nucleotide binding site opener [ARNO], a guanine nucleotide exchange factor [GEF] for the small G-protein Arf6, mediates the functional activation of Arf6, and that ARNO/Arf6 signaling axis, in turn, controls the activation of Cdc42 and Rac1, which have been implicated in GSIS. Molecular biological [i.e., expression of inactive mutants or siRNA] and pharmacological approaches were employed to assess the roles for ARNO/Arf6 signaling pathway in insulin secretion in normal rat islets and INS 832/13 cells. Degrees of activation of Arf6 and Cdc42/Rac1 were quantitated by GST-GGA3 and PAK-1 kinase pull-down assays, respectively. ARNO is expressed in INS 832/13 cells, rat islets and human islets. Expression of inactive mutants of Arf6 [Arf6-T27N] or ARNO [ARNO-E156K] or siRNA-ARNO markedly reduced GSIS in isolated β-cells. secinH3, a selective inhibitor of ARNO/Arf6 signaling axis, also inhibited GSIS in INS 832/13 cells and rat islets. Stimulatory concentrations of glucose promoted Arf6 activation, which was inhibited by secinH3 or siRNA-ARNO, suggesting that ARNO/Arf6 signaling cascade is necessary for GSIS. secinH3 or siRNA-ARNO also inhibited glucose-induced activation of Cdc42 and Rac1 suggesting that ARNO/Arf6 might be upstream to Cdc42 and Rac1 activation steps, which are necessary for GSIS. Lastly, co-immunoprecipitation and confocal microscopic studies suggested increased association between Arf6 and ARNO in glucose-stimulated β-cells. These findings provide the first evidence to implicate ARNO in the sequential activation of Arf6, Cdc42 and Rac1 culminating in GSIS.
PMCID: PMC3073812  PMID: 21276423
Insulin secretion; pancreatic islet; ARNO; Arf6; Rac1; secinH3
4.  Isoprenylcysteine carboxyl methyltransferase facilitates glucose-induced Rac1 activation, ROS generation and insulin secretion in INS 832/13 β-cells 
Islets  2011;3(2):48-57.
Isoprenylcysteine carboxyl methyltransferase (ICMT) catalyzes the post-translational methylation of C-terminal cysteines of isoprenylated proteins, including small G-proteins and the γ-subunits of heterotrimeric G-proteins. It is widely felt that carboxymethylation promotes efficient membrane association of the methylated proteins and specific protein-protein interactions. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that ICMT-mediated carboxymethylation of specific proteins (e.g., Rac1) plays a regulatory role in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Western-blot analysis indicated that ICMT is expressed and predominantly membrane associated in INS 832/13 β-cells. siRNA-mediated knockdown of endogenous expression of ICMT markedly attenuated glucose, but not KCl-induced insulin secretion. These findings were further supported by pharmacological observations, which suggested a marked reduction in glucose-, but not KCl-stimulated insulin secretion by acetyl farnesyl cysteine (AFC), a selective inhibitor of ICMT. In addition, glucose-induced Rac1 activation, a hallmark signaling step involved in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, was markedly inhibited following pharmacological (AFC) or molecular biological (siRNA-ICMT) inhibition of ICMT. Lastly, we also noticed a marked reduction in glucose-induced acute increase in the generation of reactive oxygen species in INS 832/13 cells pre-treated with AFC or transfected with siRNA-ICMT. Together, these data suggest that ICMT regulates glucose-induced Rac1 activation, generation of reactive oxygen species and insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells.
PMCID: PMC3092562  PMID: 21346419
Rac1; ROS; pancreatic islet; carboxymethylation and insulin secretion

Results 1-4 (4)