Featured ArticlesVolume 4 | No. 3 | March 2015
|Metabolic modeling of muscle metabolism|
Nogiec and colleagues developed an in silico model of muscle metabolism that incorporates reciprocal modulation of lipid oxidation and glucose uptake in order to model the fasted to fed transition. The findings suggest that metabolic phenotypes linked to IR are not likely to arise from a single gene defect, but from dysregulation of metabolic adaptations to energy/nutrient stress at several key nodes.
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Objective: Dysregulated muscle metabolism is a cardinal feature of human insulin resistance (IR) and associated diseases, including type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, specific reactions contributing to abnormal energetics and metabolic inflexibility in IR are unknown.
Methods: We utilize flux balance computational modeling to develop the first systems-level analysis of IR metabolism in fasted and fed states, and varying nutrient conditions. We systematically perturb the metabolic network to identify reactions that reproduce key features of IR-linked metabolism.
Results: While reduced glucose uptake is a major hallmark of IR, model-based reductions in either extracellular glucose availability or uptake do not alter metabolic flexibility, and thus are not sufficient to fully recapitulate IR-linked metabolism. Moreover, experimentally-reduced flux through single reactions does not reproduce key features of IR-linked metabolism. However, dual knockdowns of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), in combination with reduced lipid uptake or lipid/amino acid oxidation (ETFDH), does reduce ATP synthesis, TCA cycle flux, and metabolic flexibility. Experimental validation demonstrates robust impact of dual knockdowns in PDH/ETFDH on cellular energetics and TCA cycle flux in cultured myocytes. Parallel analysis of transcriptomic and metabolomics data in humans with IR and T2D demonstrates downregulation of PDH subunits and upregulation of its inhibitory kinase PDK4, both of which would be predicted to decrease PDH flux, concordant with the model.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that complex interactions between multiple biochemical reactions contribute to metabolic perturbations observed in human IR, and that the PDH complex plays a key role in these metabolic phenotypes.[Hide abstract]
|NPY signaling in early osteoblasts controls glucose homeostasis|
Lee and colleagues demonstrate that NPY signaling via osteoblastic Y1 receptors is important for controlling bone mass and contributing to the control of insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis in mice via a novel factor. The research explores one of the most novel developments in bone biology, the identification of a regulatory axis from the osteoblast to the pancreatic b-cell.
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Objective: The skeleton has recently emerged as an additional player in the control of whole-body glucose metabolism; however, the mechanism behind this is not clear.
Methods: Here we employ mice lacking neuropeptide Y, Y1 receptors solely in cells of the early osteoblastic lineage (Y1f3.6Cre), to examine the role of osteoblastic Y1 signalling in glycaemic control.
Results: Y1f3.6Cre mice not only have a high bone mass phenotype, but importantly also display altered glucose homeostasis; significantly decreased pancreas weight, islet number and pancreatic insulin content leading to elevated glucose levels and reduced glucose tolerance, but with no effect on insulin induced glucose clearance. The reduced glucose tolerance and elevated bone mass was corrected in Y1f3.6Cre mice by bone marrow transplant from wildtype animals, reinforcing the osteoblastic nature of this pathway. Importantly, when fed a high fat diet, Y1f3.6Cre mice, while equally gaining body weight and fat mass compared to controls, showed significantly improved glucose and insulin tolerance. Conditioned media from Y1f3.6Cre osteoblastic cultures was unable to stimulate insulin expression in MIN6 cells compared to conditioned media from wildtype osteoblast, indicating a direct signalling pathway. Importantly, osteocalcin a secreted osteoblastic factor previously identified as a modulator of insulin secretion was not altered in the Y1f3.6Cre model.
Conclusion: This study identifies the existence of other osteoblast-derived regulators of pancreas function and insulin secretion and illustrates a mechanism by which NPY signalling in bone tissue is capable of regulating pancreatic function and glucose homeostasis.[Hide abstract]
|Genetic determination of the ghrelin-dependent bone remodeling|
Ma and colleagues show that ghrelin regulates bone remodeling through Ghsr in osteoblasts rather than via the central nervous system. Ghrelin uses osteoblastic CREB and Runx2 to regulate osteoblast differentiation.
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Objective: Bone mass is maintained through a balance of bone formation and resorption. This homeostatic balance is regulated by various systems involving humoral and local factors. The discovery that the anorexigenic hormone leptin regulates bone mass via neuronal pathways revealed that neurons and neuropeptides are intimately involved in bone homeostasis. Ghrelin is a stomach-derived orexigenic hormone that counteracts leptin's action. However, the physiological role of ghrelin in bone homeostasis remains unknown. In this study, through the global knockout of ghrelin receptor (Ghsr) followed by tissue-specific re-expression, we addressed the molecular basis of the action of ghrelin in bone remodeling in vivo.
Methods: We performed molecular, genetic and cell biological analyses of Ghsr-null mice and Ghsr-null mice with tissue specific Ghsr restoration. Furthermore, we evaluated the molecular mechanism of ghrelin by molecular and cell-based assays.
Results: Ghsr-null mice showed a low bone mass phenotype with poor bone formation. Restoring the expression of Ghsr specifically in osteoblasts, and not in osteoclasts or the central nervous system, ameliorated bone abnormalities in Ghsr-null mice. Cell-based assays revealed ghrelin induced the phosphorylation of CREB and the expression of Runx2, which in turn accelerated osteoblast differentiation.
Conclusion: Our data show that ghrelin regulates bone remodeling through Ghsr in osteoblasts by modulating the CREB and Runx2 pathways.[Hide abstract]
|High-calorie (HC) diet exacerbates prostate neoplasia in mice|
Liu and colleagues show that HC diet promotes prostate cancer progression in a model of genetic susceptibility resulting from loss of Pten, a tumor suppressor gene. Mechanistically, this advanced neoplastic state can be mediated, in part, by enhanced activation of Akt and MAPK pathways and induction of de novo lipogenesis in prostate in the presence of enhanced insulin response to chronically elevated insulin levels.
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Objective: Association between prostate cancer and obesity remains controversial. Allelic deletions of PTEN, a tumor suppressor gene, are common in prostate cancer in men. Monoallelic Pten deletion in mice causes low prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (mPIN). This study tested the effect of a hypercaloric diet on prostate cancer in Pten+/− mice.
Methods: 1-month old mice were fed a high-calorie diet deriving 45% calories from fat for 3 and 6 months before prostate was analyzed histologically and biochemically for mPIN progression. Because Pten+/− mice are protected against diet-induced insulin resistance, we tested the role of insulin on cell growth in RWPE-1 normal human prostatic epithelial cells with siRNA knockdown of PTEN.
Results: In addition to activating PI3 kinase/Akt and Ras/MAPkinase pathways, high-calorie diet causes neoplastic progression, angiogenesis, inflammation and epithelial–mesenchymal transition. It also elevates the expression of fatty acid synthase (FAS), a lipogenic gene commonly elevated in progressive cancer. SiRNA-mediated downregulation of PTEN demonstrates increased cell growth and motility, and soft agar clonicity in addition to elevation in FAS in response to insulin in RWPE-1 normal human prostatic cells. Downregulating FAS in addition to PTEN, blunted the proliferative effect of insulin (and IL-6) in RWPE-1 cells.
Conclusion: High-calorie diet promotes prostate cancer progression in the genetically susceptible Pten haploinsufficient mouse while preserving insulin sensitivity. This appears to be partly due to increased inflammatory response to high-caloric intake in addition to increased ability of insulin to promote lipogenesis.[Hide abstract]
|Seipin oligomers can interact directly with AGPAT2 and lipin 1|
Talukder and colleagues demonstrate that seipin dodecamers can act as scaffolds for multiple proteins and can simultaneously bind both AGPAT2 and lipin 1, two critical regulators of adipogenesis. This work provides the first direct, physical and mechanistic link between seipin and AGPAT2, the two proteins whose disruption most commonly causes severe generalized lipodystrophy in humans.
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Objective: Disruption of the genes encoding either seipin or 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate O-acyltransferase 2 (AGPAT2) causes severe congenital generalized lipodystrophy (CGL) in humans. However, the function of seipin in adipogenesis remains poorly defined. We demonstrated recently that seipin can bind the key adipogenic phosphatidic acid (PA) phosphatase lipin 1 and that seipin forms stable dodecamers. As AGPAT2 generates PA, the substrate for lipin 1, we investigated whether seipin might bind both enzymes of this lipid biosynthetic pathway, which is required for adipogenesis to occur.
Methods: We employed co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence methods to determine whether seipin can interact with AGPAT2 and the consequences of this in developing adipocytes. Atomic force microscopy was used to determine whether these interactions involved direct association of the proteins and to define the molecular architecture of these complexes.
Results: Our data reveal that seipin can bind AGPAT2 during adipogenesis and that stabilizing this interaction during adipogenesis can increase the nuclear accumulation of PPARγ. Both AGPAT2 and lipin 1 can directly associate with seipin dodecamers, and a single seipin complex can simultaneously bind both AGPAT2 and lipin with a defined orientation.
Conclusion: Our study provides the first direct molecular link between seipin and AGPAT2, two proteins whose disruption causes CGL. Moreover, it provides the first example of an interaction between seipin and another protein that causally influences a key aspect of adipogenesis. Together our data suggest that the critical role of seipin in adipogenesis may involve its capacity to juxtapose important regulators of this process in a multi-protein complex.[Hide abstract]
|Central nervous system neuropeptide Y regulates mediators of hepatic phospholipid remodeling|
Rojas and colleagues reveal that NPY signaling is important in the central regulation of hepatic lipoprotein metabolism. In lean fasted rats, CNS NPY signaling modulates the expression and/or activity of key hepatic regulatory proteins (SCD-1, ARF-1, and lipin-1) involved in remodeling of PL and VLDL maturation. These effects of central NPY are mediated by NPY Y1 receptor signaling and sympathetic innervation of the liver.
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Objective: Elevated very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-triglyceride (TG) secretion from the liver contributes to an atherogenic dyslipidemia that is associated with obesity, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Numerous models of obesity and diabetes are characterized by increased central nervous system (CNS) neuropeptide Y (NPY); in fact, a single intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of NPY in lean fasted rats elevates hepatic VLDL-TG secretion and does so, in large part, via signaling through the CNS NPY Y1 receptor. Thus, our overarching hypothesis is that elevated CNS NPY action contributes to dyslipidemia by activating central circuits that modulate liver lipid metabolism.
Methods: Chow-fed Zucker fatty (ZF) rats were pair-fed by matching their caloric intake to that of lean controls and effects on body weight, plasma TG, and liver content of TG and phospholipid (PL) were compared to ad-libitum (ad-lib) fed ZF rats. Additionally, lean 4-h fasted rats with intact or disrupted hepatic sympathetic innervation were treated with icv NPY or NPY Y1 receptor agonist to identify novel hepatic mechanisms by which NPY promotes VLDL particle maturation and secretion.
Results: Manipulation of plasma TG levels in obese ZF rats, through pair-feeding had no effect on liver TG content; however, hepatic PL content was substantially reduced and was tightly correlated with plasma TG levels. Treatment with icv NPY or a selective NPY Y1 receptor agonist in lean fasted rats robustly activated key hepatic regulatory proteins, stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD-1), ADP-ribosylation factor-1 (ARF-1), and lipin-1, known to be involved in remodeling liver PL into TG for VLDL maturation and secretion. Lastly, we show that the effects of CNS NPY on key liporegulatory proteins are attenuated by hepatic sympathetic denervation.
Conclusion: These data support a model in which CNS NPY modulates mediators of hepatic PL remodeling and VLDL maturation to stimulate VLDL-TG secretion that is dependent on the Y1 receptor and sympathetic signaling to the liver.[Hide abstract]
|Decreased expression of hepatic glucokinase in type 2 diabetes|
Haeusler and colleagues measure gene expression in human liver biopsies. They find glucokinase decreased in diabetic patients with HbA1c > 7.0% and glucokinase mRNA negatively correlated with HbA1c and fasting glucose.
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Background / objectives: Increased endogenous glucose production is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. Evidence from animal models has suggested that a likely cause of this is increased mRNA expression of glucose 6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (encoded by G6PC, PCK1 and PCK2). But another contributing factor may be decreased liver glucokinase (encoded by GCK).
Methods: We examined expression of these enzymes in liver biopsies from 12 nondiabetic and 28 diabetic individuals. Diabetic patients were further separated into those with HbA1c lower or higher than 7.0.
Results: In diabetic subjects with HbA1c > 7.0, we found that gluconeogenic enzymes were expressed normally, but GCK was suppressed more than 60%. Moreover, HbA1c and fasting glucose were negatively correlated with GCK, but showed no correlation with G6PC, PCK1, or PCK2.
Conclusion: These findings suggest an underlying dysregulation of hepatic GCK expression during frank diabetes, which has implications for the therapeutic use of glucokinase activators in this population.[Hide abstract]
|Leptin recruits Creb-regulated transcriptional coactivator 1 to improve hyperglycemia|
Kim and colleagues define Crtc1 as a transcriptional effector that is necessary for leptin to alleviate hyperglycemia but not glucagon secretion in experimental diabetes. The data highlight a role for leptin-Crtc1 signaling in regulating metabolic gene expression in liver and soleus and improving glucose uptake into iBAT and heart.
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Objective: Leptin alleviates hyperglycemia in rodent models of Type 1 diabetes by activating leptin receptors within the central nervous system. Here we delineate whether non-canonical leptin signaling through the Creb-regulated transcriptional coactivator 1 (Crtc1) contributes to leptin-dependent improvements in diabetic glucose metabolism.
Methods: We employed mice with a targeted genetic disruption of Crtc1, tracer dilution techniques and neuroanatomical studies to interrogate whether Crtc1 enables leptin to improve glucose metabolism in streptozotocin-induced (STZ) diabetes.
Results: Here we show that leptin improves diabetic glucose metabolism through Crtc1-dependent and independent mechanisms. We find that leptin reduces diabetic hyperglycemia, hepatic gluconeogenic gene expression and selectively increases glucose disposal to brown adipose tissue and heart, in STZ-diabetic Crtc1WT mice but not Crtc1+/− mice. By contrast, leptin decreases circulating glucagon levels in both STZ-diabetic Crtc1WT and Crtc1+/− mice. We also demonstrate that leptin promotes Crtc1 nuclear translocation in pro-opiomelanocortin (Pomc) and non-Pomc neurons within the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC). Accordingly, leptin's ability to induce Pomc gene expression in the ARC is blunted in STZ-diabetic Crtc1+/− mice.
Conclusion: Our study reveals that Crtc1 functions as a conduit for leptin's glucoregulatory actions in insulin-dependent diabetes. This study also highlights a new role for Crtc1 in modulating peripheral glucose metabolism.[Hide abstract]
|SOCS3 deficiency in leptin receptor-expressing cells|
Zampieri and colleagues identify the increased hypothalamic expression of SOCS3 as a key mechanism responsible for inducing pregnancy-induced leptin resistance and metabolic adaptations. SOCS3 KO mice are protected against long-term postpartum fat retention and gestational diabetes mellitus.
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Objective: During pregnancy, women normally increase their food intake and body fat mass, and exhibit insulin resistance. However, an increasing number of women are developing metabolic imbalances during pregnancy, including excessive gestational weight gain and gestational diabetes mellitus. Despite the negative health impacts of pregnancy-induced metabolic imbalances, their molecular causes remain unclear. Therefore, the present study investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for orchestrating the metabolic changes observed during pregnancy.
Methods: Initially, we investigated the hypothalamic expression of key genes that could influence the energy balance and glucose homeostasis during pregnancy. Based on these results, we generated a conditional knockout mouse that lacks the suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3) only in leptin receptor-expressing cells and studied these animals during pregnancy.
Results: Among several genes involved in leptin resistance, only SOCS3 was increased in the hypothalamus of pregnant mice. Remarkably, SOCS3 deletion from leptin receptor-expressing cells prevented pregnancy-induced hyperphagia, body fat accumulation as well as leptin and insulin resistance without affecting the ability of the females to carry their gestation to term. Additionally, we found that SOCS3 conditional deletion protected females against long-term postpartum fat retention and streptozotocin-induced gestational diabetes.
Conclusions: Our study identified the increased hypothalamic expression of SOCS3 as a key mechanism responsible for triggering pregnancy-induced leptin resistance and metabolic adaptations. These findings not only help to explain a common phenomenon of the mammalian physiology, but it may also aid in the development of approaches to prevent and treat gestational metabolic imbalances.[Hide abstract]
|Increased biogenesis of glucagon-containing secretory granules and glucagon secretion|
Li and colleagues show that BIG3 is highly expressed in alpha-cells, and its loss leads to elevated glucagon production and enhanced secretion at single islet and whole organism level. Together with previous studies, a conserved function of BIG3 in regulating secretory granule biogenesis and hormone secretion in pancreatic islets has emerged.
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Objective: Although both insulin and glucagon are intimately involved in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, the intrinsic control of glucagon secretion, including the biogenesis and exocytosis of glucagon-containing granules, is far less understood compared with that of insulin. As Brefeldin A-inhibited guanine nucleotide exchange protein 3 (BIG3) is a negative regulator of insulin-granule biogenesis and insulin secretion, we investigated whether BIG3 plays any role in alpha-cells and glucagon secretion.
Methods: We examined the expression of BIG3 in islet cells by immuno-fluorescence and confocal microscopy, and measured glucagon production and secretion in BIG3-depleted and wild-type mice, islets and cells.
Results: BIG3 is highly expressed in pancreatic alpha-cells in addition to beta-cells, but is absent in delta-cells. Depletion of BIG3 in alpha-cells leads to elevated glucagon production and secretion. Consistently, BIG3-knockout (BKO) mice display increased glucagon release under hypoglycemic conditions.
Conclusions: Together with our previous studies, the current data reveal a conserved role for BIG3 in regulating alpha- and beta-cell functions. We propose that BIG3 negatively regulates hormone production at the secretory granule biogenesis stage and that such regulatory mechanism may be used in secretory pathways of other endocrine cells.[Hide abstract]