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Involvement of Per-Arnt-Sim Kinase and Extracellular-Regulated Kinases-1/2 in Palmitate Inhibition of Insulin Gene Expression in Pancreatic β-Cells

American Diabetes Association
Publication Date
DOI: 10.2337/db08-0579
  • Original Article
  • Islet Studies
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology


OBJECTIVE Prolonged exposure of pancreatic β-cells to simultaneously elevated levels of fatty acids and glucose (glucolipotoxicity) impairs insulin gene transcription. However, the intracellular signaling pathways mediating these effects are mostly unknown. This study aimed to ascertain the role of extracellular-regulated kinases (ERKs)1/2, protein kinase B (PKB), and Per-Arnt-Sim kinase (PASK) in palmitate inhibition of insulin gene expression in pancreatic β-cells. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS MIN6 cells and isolated rat islets were cultured in the presence of elevated glucose, with or without palmitate or ceramide. ERK1/2 phosphorylation, PKB phosphorylation, and PASK expression were examined by immunoblotting and real-time PCR. The role of these kinases in insulin gene expression was assessed using pharmacological and molecular approaches. RESULTS Exposure of MIN6 cells and islets to elevated glucose induced ERK1/2 and PKB phosphorylation, which was further enhanced by palmitate. Inhibition of ERK1/2, but not of PKB, partially prevented the inhibition of insulin gene expression in the presence of palmitate or ceramide. Glucose-induced expression of PASK mRNA and protein levels was reduced in the presence of palmitate. Overexpression of wild-type PASK increased insulin and pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 gene expression in MIN6 cells and rat islets incubated with glucose and palmitate, whereas overexpression of a kinase-dead PASK mutant in rat islets decreased expression of insulin and pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 and increased C/EBPβ expression. CONCLUSIONS Both the PASK and ERK1/2 signaling pathways mediate palmitate inhibition of insulin gene expression. These findings identify PASK as a novel mediator of glucolipotoxicity on the insulin gene in pancreatic β-cells.

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