GLUCAGON BIOSYNTHESIS AND METABOLISM

Summary

Principal Investigator: JOEL HABENER
Abstract: Seventeen million individuals in the USA suffer from diabetes mellitus, 1 million of whom have type 1 (juvenile) diabetes in which the insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas are nearly completely destroyed by autoimmunity. Attempts to successfully transplant islets to diabetic subjects now hold promise (Edmunton Protocol). We hypothesize that the lack of successful engraftment is due to the situation in which mature beta-cells in the islets are mostly post-mitotic, and that successful engraftment requires the neogenesis of new beta-cells from stem/progenitor cells that reside within the islets. Therefore, we propose an approach whereby freshly isolated islets are pre-cultured for several days with growth factors such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) to expand the population of stem/progenitor cells in the islets prior to their transplantation. To justify such an approach, we propose to demonstrate successful engraftment of islet-derived stem/progenitor cells (IPCs) transplanted into streptozotocin-induced diabetic and NOD diabetic mice treated with GLP-1. In initial studies, we have successfully isolated stem/progenitor cells from human (and rat, and mouse) pancreatic islets, have expanded them ex vivo, and have converted them into insulin-producing islet-like clusters, (ILCs) in response to GLP-1. The IPCs are multipotential as they differentiate into hepatic, neural, ductal, hematopoietic and mesenchymal phenotypes. The proglucagon gene is expressed in both the pancreas and the intestine. By mechanisms of alternative post-translational processing of proglucagon, the pancreas produces glucagon and in the intestine produces glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), an incretin hormone that has potent insulinotropic, neogenic and cytoprotective actions on beta-cells of the pancreas, peripheral actions on adipose and skeletal muscle to enhance glucose uptake, and on liver to inhibit glucose output. We propose that GLP-1 activates specific cAMP-coupled receptors on pancreatic beta-cells and, synergetically with glucose, stimulates insulin release and acts on islet and IPCs to promote their differentiation into beta-cells. The aims are to: (1) examine the potential properties of GLP-1 to enhance growth and to inhibit apoptosis of pancreatic beta-cells and to stimulate the differentiation of pancreatic IPCs into beta-cells; (2) isolate, identify, and characterize the peripheral GLP-1 receptor expressed on adipocytes. We propose to clone the receptor from a 3T3-L1 cell cDNA expression library, prepare stable cell lines expressing the receptor, characterize the hierarchy of peptide hormone binding and the coupling to signal transduction pathways, and investigate the potential role of the receptor in diabetes. The importance of GLP-1 hormones encoded by the proglucagon gene in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis, and their potential relevance to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, provides impetus in learning more about the controlling factors involved in the actions of GLP-1 agonists.
Funding Period: 1982-04-01 - 2009-01-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. ncbi Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor and proglucagon expression in mouse skin
    James F List
    Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, United States
    Regul Pept 134:149-57. 2006
  2. pmc Glucagon-like peptide-1 activation of TCF7L2-dependent Wnt signaling enhances pancreatic beta cell proliferation
    Zhengyu Liu
    Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    J Biol Chem 283:8723-35. 2008
  3. ncbi GLP-1 (9-36) amide, cleavage product of GLP-1 (7-36) amide, is a glucoregulatory peptide
    Dariush Elahi
    Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    Obesity (Silver Spring) 16:1501-9. 2008
  4. pmc Stromal cell-derived factor-1 promotes survival of pancreatic beta cells by the stabilisation of beta-catenin and activation of transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2)
    Z Liu
    Thier 306, Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Diabetologia 52:1589-98. 2009
  5. pmc Insulin-like actions of glucagon-like peptide-1: a dual receptor hypothesis
    Eva Tomas
    Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Trends Endocrinol Metab 21:59-67. 2010

Detail Information

Publications5

  1. ncbi Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor and proglucagon expression in mouse skin
    James F List
    Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, United States
    Regul Pept 134:149-57. 2006
    ..These findings suggest a possible paracrine/autocrine role for GLP-1 and its receptor in skin development and possibly also in folliculogenesis...
  2. pmc Glucagon-like peptide-1 activation of TCF7L2-dependent Wnt signaling enhances pancreatic beta cell proliferation
    Zhengyu Liu
    Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    J Biol Chem 283:8723-35. 2008
    ..Wnt signaling appears to mediate GLP-1-induced beta cell proliferation raising possibilities for novel treatments of diabetes...
  3. ncbi GLP-1 (9-36) amide, cleavage product of GLP-1 (7-36) amide, is a glucoregulatory peptide
    Dariush Elahi
    Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    Obesity (Silver Spring) 16:1501-9. 2008
    ..We determined whether the insulinomimetic effects of GLP-1 are mediated through its principal metabolite, GLP-1 (9-36) amide (GLP-1m)...
  4. pmc Stromal cell-derived factor-1 promotes survival of pancreatic beta cells by the stabilisation of beta-catenin and activation of transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2)
    Z Liu
    Thier 306, Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Diabetologia 52:1589-98. 2009
    ..Since AKT is known to modulate the wingless-type MMTV integration site family (WNT) signalling cascade, we examined the effects of SDF-1/CXCR4 on WNT signalling in beta cells and whether this signalling is important for cell survival...
  5. pmc Insulin-like actions of glucagon-like peptide-1: a dual receptor hypothesis
    Eva Tomas
    Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Trends Endocrinol Metab 21:59-67. 2010
    ..These findings have implications in nutrient assimilation, energy homeostasis, obesity, and the use of Dpp4 inhibitors for the treatment of diabetes...