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author:("Rocha, nano")
1.  Genetic Defects in Human Pericentrin Are Associated With Severe Insulin Resistance and Diabetes 
Diabetes  2011;60(3):925-935.
Genetic defects in human pericentrin (PCNT), encoding the centrosomal protein pericentrin, cause a form of osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism that is sometimes reported to be associated with diabetes. We thus set out to determine the prevalence of diabetes and insulin resistance among patients with PCNT defects and examined the effects of pericentrin depletion on insulin action using 3T3-L1 adipocytes as a model system.
A cross-sectional metabolic assessment of 21 patients with PCNT mutations was undertaken. Pericentrin expression in human tissues was profiled using quantitative real-time PCR. The effect of pericentrin knockdown on insulin action and adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes was determined using Oil red O staining, gene-expression analysis, immunoblotting, and glucose uptake assays. Pericentrin expression and localization also was determined in skeletal muscle.
Of 21 patients with genetic defects in PCNT, 18 had insulin resistance, which was severe in the majority of subjects. Ten subjects had confirmed diabetes (mean age of onset 15 years [range 5–28]), and 13 had metabolic dyslipidemia. All patients without insulin resistance were younger than 4 years old. Knockdown of pericentrin in adipocytes had no effect on proximal insulin signaling but produced a twofold impairment in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, approximately commensurate with an associated defect in cell proliferation and adipogenesis. Pericentrin was highly expressed in human skeletal muscle, where it showed a perinuclear distribution.
Severe insulin resistance and premature diabetes are common features of PCNT deficiency but are not congenital. Partial failure of adipocyte differentiation may contribute to this, but pericentrin deficiency does not impair proximal insulin action in adipocytes.
PMCID: PMC3046854  PMID: 21270239
2.  Cholesterol sensor ORP1L contacts the ER protein VAP to control Rab7–RILP–p150Glued and late endosome positioning 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;185(7):1209-1225.
Late endosomes (LEs) have characteristic intracellular distributions determined by their interactions with various motor proteins. Motor proteins associated to the dynactin subunit p150Glued bind to LEs via the Rab7 effector Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein (RILP) in association with the oxysterol-binding protein ORP1L. We found that cholesterol levels in LEs are sensed by ORP1L and are lower in peripheral vesicles. Under low cholesterol conditions, ORP1L conformation induces the formation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)–LE membrane contact sites. At these sites, the ER protein VAP (VAMP [vesicle-associated membrane protein]-associated ER protein) can interact in trans with the Rab7–RILP complex to remove p150Glued and associated motors. LEs then move to the microtubule plus end. Under high cholesterol conditions, as in Niemann-Pick type C disease, this process is prevented, and LEs accumulate at the microtubule minus end as the result of dynein motor activity. These data explain how the ER and cholesterol control the association of LEs with motor proteins and their positioning in cells.
PMCID: PMC2712958  PMID: 19564404
3.  A Genome-Wide Association Study Reveals Variants in ARL15 that Influence Adiponectin Levels 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(12):e1000768.
The adipocyte-derived protein adiponectin is highly heritable and inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and coronary heart disease (CHD). We meta-analyzed 3 genome-wide association studies for circulating adiponectin levels (n = 8,531) and sought validation of the lead single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 5 additional cohorts (n = 6,202). Five SNPs were genome-wide significant in their relationship with adiponectin (P≤5×10−8). We then tested whether these 5 SNPs were associated with risk of T2D and CHD using a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P≤0.011 to declare statistical significance for these disease associations. SNPs at the adiponectin-encoding ADIPOQ locus demonstrated the strongest associations with adiponectin levels (P-combined = 9.2×10−19 for lead SNP, rs266717, n = 14,733). A novel variant in the ARL15 (ADP-ribosylation factor-like 15) gene was associated with lower circulating levels of adiponectin (rs4311394-G, P-combined = 2.9×10−8, n = 14,733). This same risk allele at ARL15 was also associated with a higher risk of CHD (odds ratio [OR] = 1.12, P = 8.5×10−6, n = 22,421) more nominally, an increased risk of T2D (OR = 1.11, P = 3.2×10−3, n = 10,128), and several metabolic traits. Expression studies in humans indicated that ARL15 is well-expressed in skeletal muscle. These findings identify a novel protein, ARL15, which influences circulating adiponectin levels and may impact upon CHD risk.
Author Summary
Through a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of 14,733 individuals, we identified common base-pair variants in the genome which influence circulating adiponectin levels. Since adiponectin is an adipocyte-derived circulating protein which has been inversely associated with risk of obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and coronary heart disease (CHD), we next sought to understand if the identified variants influencing adiponectin levels also influence risk of T2D, CHD, and several metabolic traits. In addition to confirming that variation at the ADIPOQ locus influences adiponectin levels, our analyses point to a variant in the ARL15 (ADP-ribosylation factor-like 15) locus which decreases adiponectin levels and increases risk of CHD and T2D. Further, this same variant was associated with increased fasting insulin levels and glycated hemoglobin. While the function of ARL15 is not known, we provide insight into the tissue specificity of ARL15 expression. These results thus provide novel insights into the physiology of the adiponectin pathway and obesity-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC2781107  PMID: 20011104
4.  Activation of endosomal dynein motors by stepwise assembly of Rab7–RILP–p150Glued, ORP1L, and the receptor βlll spectrin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;176(4):459-471.
The small GTPase Rab7 controls late endocytic transport by the minus end–directed motor protein complex dynein–dynactin, but how it does this is unclear. Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein (RILP) and oxysterol-binding protein–related protein 1L (ORP1L) are two effectors of Rab7. We show that GTP-bound Rab7 simultaneously binds RILP and ORP1L to form a RILP–Rab7–ORP1L complex. RILP interacts directly with the C-terminal 25-kD region of the dynactin projecting arm p150Glued, which is required for dynein motor recruitment to late endocytic compartments (LEs). Still, p150Glued recruitment by Rab7–RILP does not suffice to induce dynein-driven minus-end transport of LEs. ORP1L, as well as βIII spectrin, which is the general receptor for dynactin on vesicles, are essential for dynein motor activity. Our results illustrate that the assembly of microtubule motors on endosomes involves a cascade of linked events. First, Rab7 recruits two effectors, RILP and ORP1L, to form a tripartite complex. Next, RILP directly binds to the p150Glued dynactin subunit to recruit the dynein motor. Finally, the specific dynein motor receptor Rab7–RILP is transferred by ORP1L to βIII spectrin. Dynein will initiate translocation of late endosomes to microtubule minus ends only after interacting with βIII spectrin, which requires the activities of Rab7–RILP and ORP1L.
PMCID: PMC2063981  PMID: 17283181

Results 1-4 (4)