O-linked {beta}-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) acts as a glucose sensor to epigenetically regulate the insulin gene in pancreatic beta cells [Gene Regulation]

November 23rd, 2015 by Durning, S. P., Flanagan-Steet, H., Prasad, N., Wells, L.

The post-translational protein modification O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a proposed nutrient sensor that has been shown to regulate multiple biological pathways. This dynamic and inducible enzymatic modification to intracellular proteins utilizes the end product of the nutrient sensing hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP), UDP-GlcNAc, as its substrate-donor. Type II diabetic patients have elevated O-GlcNAc modified proteins within pancreatic beta-cells due to chronic hyperglycemia-induced glucose overload, but a molecular role for O-GlcNAc within beta cells remains unclear. Using directed pharmacological approaches in the mouse insulinoma-6 (Min6) cell line, we demonstrate that elevating nuclear O-GlcNAc increases intracellular insulin levels and preserves glucose stimulated insulin secretion during chronic hyperglycemia. The molecular mechanism for these observed changes appears to be, at least in part, due to elevated O-GlcNAc-dependent increases in Ins1 and Ins2 mRNA levels via elevations in histone H3 transcriptional activation marks. Further, RNA deep sequencing reveals that this mechanism of altered gene transcription is restricted and that the majority of genes regulated by elevated O-GlcNAc levels are similarly regulated by a shift from euglycemic to hyperglycemic conditions. These findings implicate the O-GlcNAc modification as a potential mechanism for hyperglycemic-regulated gene expression in the beta cell.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
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