The neuronal and endocrine roles of RCAN1 in health and disease.
Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology
Local Sphingosine Kinase 1 Activity Improves Islet Transplantation.
Regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) was first discovered as a gene located on human chromosome 21, expressed in neurons and overexpressed in the brains of Down Syndrome individuals. Increased expression of RCAN1 has been linked with not only Down Syndrome-associated pathology but also an associated neurological disorder, Alzheimer's Disease, in which neuronal RCAN1 expression is also increased. RCAN1 has additionally been demonstrated to effect other cell types including endocrine cells, with links to the pathogenesis of β-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. The primary functions of RCAN1 relate to the inhibition of the phosphatase calcineurin, and to the regulation of mitochondrial function. Various forms of cellular stress such as reactive oxygen species and hyperglycemia cause transient increases in RCAN1 expression. The short term (hours to days) induction of RCAN1 expression is generally thought to have a protective effect by regulating the expression of pro-survival genes in multiple cell types, many of which are mediated via the calcineurin/NFAT transcriptional pathway. However, strong evidence also supports the notion that chronic (weeks-years) overexpression of RCAN1 has a detrimental effect on cells and that this may drive pathophysiological changes in neurons and endocrine cells linked to Down Syndrome, Alzheimer's Disease and type 2 diabetes. Here we review the evidence related to these roles of RCAN1 in neurons and endocrine cells and their relationship to these human health disorders. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
View details for DOI 10.1111/1440-1681.12884
View details for PubMedID 29094385
T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptor promote immune tolerance.
2017; 2 (20)
Pancreatic islet transplantation is a promising clinical treatment for type I diabetes (T1D), but success is limited by extensive beta cell death in the immediate post-transplant period, and impaired islet function in the longer term. Following transplantation, appropriate vascular remodelling is crucial to ensure the survival and function of engrafted islets. The sphingosine kinase pathway is an important regulator of vascular beds, but its role in the survival and function of transplanted islets is unknown. We observed that donor islets from mice deficient in SK1 (Sphk1-KO) contain a reduced number of resident intraislet vascular endothelial cells (ECs). Furthermore, we demonstrate that the main product of SK1, sphingosine-1-phosphate, controls the migration of intraislet ECs in vitro We reveal in vivo that Sphk1-KO islets have an impaired ability to cure diabetes, compared to wildtype controls. Thus, SK1-deficient islets not only contain fewer resident vascular cells that participate in revascularisation, but likely also a reduced ability to recruit new vessels into the transplanted islet. Together, our data suggest that SK1 is important for islet revascularisation following transplantation and represents a novel clinical target for improving transplant outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.2337/db16-0837
View details for PubMedID 28174291
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus From Inactivation of Prolactin Receptor and MafB in Islet ß-Cells.
2016; 65 (8): 2331-2341
Cellular therapies based on permanent genetic modification of conventional T cells have emerged as a promising strategy for cancer. However, it remains unknown if modification of T cell subsets, such as Tregs, could be useful in other settings, such as allograft transplantation. Here, we use a modular system based on a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that binds covalently modified mAbs to control Treg activation in vivo. Transient expression of this mAb-directed CAR (mAbCAR) in Tregs permitted Treg targeting to specific tissue sites and mitigated allograft responses, such as graft-versus-host disease. mAbCAR Tregs targeted to MHC class I proteins on allografts prolonged islet allograft survival and also prolonged the survival of secondary skin grafts specifically matched to the original islet allograft. Thus, transient genetic modification to produce mAbCAR T cells led to durable immune modulation, suggesting therapeutic targeting strategies for controlling alloreactivity in settings such as organ or tissue transplantation.
View details for DOI 10.1172/jci.insight.92865
View details for PubMedID 29046484
Age-Dependent Pancreatic Gene Regulation Reveals Mechanisms Governing Human beta Cell Function
2016; 23 (5): 909-920
β-Cell proliferation and expansion during pregnancy are crucial for maintaining euglycemia in response to increased metabolic demands placed on the mother. Prolactin and placental lactogen signal through the prolactin receptor (PRLR) and contribute to adaptive β-cell responses in pregnancy; however, the in vivo requirement for PRLR signaling specifically in maternal β-cell adaptations remains unknown. We generated a floxed allele of Prlr, allowing conditional loss of PRLR in β-cells. In this study, we show that loss of PRLR signaling in β-cells results in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), reduced β-cell proliferation, and failure to expand β-cell mass during pregnancy. Targeted PRLR loss in maternal β-cells in vivo impaired expression of the transcription factor Foxm1, both G1/S and G2/M cyclins, tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (Tph1), and islet serotonin production, for which synthesis requires Tph1. This conditional system also revealed that PRLR signaling is required for the transient gestational expression of the transcription factor MafB within a subset of β-cells during pregnancy. MafB deletion in maternal β-cells also produced GDM, with inadequate β-cell expansion accompanied by failure to induce PRLR-dependent target genes regulating β-cell proliferation. These results unveil molecular roles for PRLR signaling in orchestrating the physiologic expansion of maternal β-cells during pregnancy.
View details for DOI 10.2337/db15-1527
View details for PubMedID 27217483
A Syntenic Cross Species Aneuploidy Genetic Screen Links RCAN1 Expression to beta-Cell Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes
2016; 12 (5)
Intensive efforts are focused on identifying regulators of human pancreatic islet cell growth and maturation to accelerate development of therapies for diabetes. After birth, islet cell growth and function are dynamically regulated; however, establishing these age-dependent changes in humans has been challenging. Here, we describe a multimodal strategy for isolating pancreatic endocrine and exocrine cells from children and adults to identify age-dependent gene expression and chromatin changes on a genomic scale. These profiles revealed distinct proliferative and functional states of islet α cells or β cells and histone modifications underlying age-dependent gene expression changes. Expression of SIX2 and SIX3, transcription factors without prior known functions in the pancreas and linked to fasting hyperglycemia risk, increased with age specifically in human islet β cells. SIX2 and SIX3 were sufficient to enhance insulin content or secretion in immature β cells. Our work provides a unique resource to study human-specific regulators of islet cell maturation and function.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.002
View details for Web of Science ID 000375550700021
View details for PubMedID 27133132
Research Resource: Genetic Labeling of Human Islet Alpha Cells.
2016; 30 (2): 248-253
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a complex metabolic disease associated with obesity, insulin resistance and hypoinsulinemia due to pancreatic β-cell dysfunction. Reduced mitochondrial function is thought to be central to β-cell dysfunction. Mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced insulin secretion are also observed in β-cells of humans with the most common human genetic disorder, Down syndrome (DS, Trisomy 21). To identify regions of chromosome 21 that may be associated with perturbed glucose homeostasis we profiled the glycaemic status of different DS mouse models. The Ts65Dn and Dp16 DS mouse lines were hyperglycemic, while Tc1 and Ts1Rhr mice were not, providing us with a region of chromosome 21 containing genes that cause hyperglycemia. We then examined whether any of these genes were upregulated in a set of ~5,000 gene expression changes we had identified in a large gene expression analysis of human T2D β-cells. This approach produced a single gene, RCAN1, as a candidate gene linking hyperglycemia and functional changes in T2D β-cells. Further investigations demonstrated that RCAN1 methylation is reduced in human T2D islets at multiple sites, correlating with increased expression. RCAN1 protein expression was also increased in db/db mouse islets and in human and mouse islets exposed to high glucose. Mice overexpressing RCAN1 had reduced in vivo glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and their β-cells displayed mitochondrial dysfunction including hyperpolarised membrane potential, reduced oxidative phosphorylation and low ATP production. This lack of β-cell ATP had functional consequences by negatively affecting both glucose-stimulated membrane depolarisation and ATP-dependent insulin granule exocytosis. Thus, from amongst the myriad of gene expression changes occurring in T2D β-cells where we had little knowledge of which changes cause β-cell dysfunction, we applied a trisomy 21 screening approach which linked RCAN1 to β-cell mitochondrial dysfunction in T2D.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006033
View details for Web of Science ID 000377197100034
View details for PubMedID 27195491
Endothelial Progenitor Cells Enhance Islet Engraftment, Influence beta-Cell Function, and Modulate Islet Connexin 36 Expression
2015; 24 (1): 37-48
The 2 most abundant human pancreatic islet cell types are insulin-producing β-cells and glucagon-producing α-cells. Defined cis-regulatory elements from rodent Insulin genes have permitted genetic labeling of human islet β-cells, enabling lineage tracing and generation of human β-cell lines, but analogous elements for genetically labeling human α-cells with high specificity do not yet exist. To identify genetic elements that specifically direct reporter expression to human α-cells, we investigated noncoding sequences adjacent to the human GLUCAGON and ARX genes, which are expressed in islet α-cells. Elements with high evolutionary conservation were cloned into lentiviral vectors to direct fluorescent reporter expression in primary human islets. Based on the specificity of reporter expression for α- and β-cells, we found that rat glucagon promoter was not specific for human α-cells but that addition of human GLUCAGON untranslated region sequences substantially enhanced specificity of labeling in both cultured and transplanted islets to a degree not previously reported, to our knowledge. Specific transgene expression from these cis-regulatory sequences in human α-cells should enable targeted genetic modification and lineage tracing.
View details for DOI 10.1210/me.2015-1220
View details for PubMedID 26745668
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4792229
Huntingtin-associated protein 1 regulates exocytosis, vesicle docking, readily releasable pool size and fusion pore stability in mouse chromaffin cells
JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LONDON
2014; 592 (7): 1505-1518
The success of pancreatic islet transplantation is limited by delayed engraftment and suboptimal function in the longer term. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) represent a potential cellular therapy that may improve the engraftment of transplanted pancreatic islets. In addition, EPCs may directly affect the function of pancreatic β-cells. The objective of this study was to examine the ability of EPCs to enhance pancreatic islet transplantation in a murine syngeneic marginal mass transplant model and to examine the mechanisms through which this occurs. We found that cotransplanted EPCs improved the cure rate and initial glycemic control of transplanted islets. Gene expression data indicate that EPCs, or their soluble products, modulate the expression of the β-cell surface molecule connexin 36 and affect glucose-stimulated insulin release in vitro. In conclusion, EPCs are a promising candidate for improving outcomes in islet transplantation, and their mechanisms of action warrant further study.
View details for DOI 10.3727/096368913X673423
View details for Web of Science ID 000349582900004
View details for PubMedID 24069942
RCAN1 Regulates Mitochondrial Function and Increases Susceptibility to Oxidative Stress in Mammalian Cells
OXIDATIVE MEDICINE AND CELLULAR LONGEVITY
Huntingtin-associated protein 1 (HAP1) was initially established as a neuronal binding partner of huntingtin, mutations in which underlie Huntington's disease. Subcellular localization and protein interaction data indicate that HAP1 may be important in vesicle trafficking and cell signalling. In this study, we establish that HAP1 is important in several steps of exocytosis in adrenal chromaffin cells. Using carbon-fibre amperometry, we measured single vesicle exocytosis in chromaffin cells obtained from HAP1(-/-) and HAP1(+/+) littermate mice. Numbers of Ca(2+)-dependent and Ca(2+)-independent full fusion events in HAP1(-/-) cells are significantly decreased compared with those in HAP1(+/+) cells. We observed no change in the frequency of 'kiss-and-run' fusion events or in Ca(2+) entry. Whereas release per full fusion event is unchanged in HAP1(-/-) cells, early fusion pore duration is prolonged, as indicated by the increased duration of pre-spike foot signals. Kiss-and-run events have a shorter duration, indicating opposing roles for HAP1 in the stabilization of the fusion pore during full fusion and transient fusion, respectively. We use electron microscopy to demonstrate a reduction in the number of vesicles docked at the plasma membrane of HAP1(-/-) cells, where membrane capacitance measurements reveal the readily releasable pool of vesicles to be reduced in size. Our study therefore illustrates that HAP1 regulates exocytosis by influencing the morphological docking of vesicles at the plasma membrane, the ability of vesicles to be released rapidly upon stimulation, and the early stages of fusion pore formation.
View details for DOI 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.268342
View details for Web of Science ID 000334398300008
View details for PubMedID 24366265
The beta-Cell/EC Axis: How Do Islet Cells Talk to Each Other?
2014; 63 (1): 3-11
Mitochondria are the primary site of cellular energy generation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation. Elevated ROS levels are detrimental to normal cell function and have been linked to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Down's syndrome (DS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). RCAN1 is abundantly expressed in the brain and overexpressed in brain of DS and AD patients. Data from nonmammalian species indicates that increased RCAN1 expression results in altered mitochondrial function and that RCAN1 may itself regulate neuronal ROS production. In this study, we have utilized mice overexpressing RCAN1 (RCAN1(ox)) and demonstrate an increased susceptibility of neurons from these mice to oxidative stress. Mitochondria from these mice are more numerous and smaller, indicative of mitochondrial dysfunction, and mitochondrial membrane potential is altered under conditions of oxidative stress. We also generated a PC12 cell line overexpressing RCAN1 (PC12(RCAN1)). Similar to RCAN1(ox) neurons, PC12(RCAN1) cells have an increased susceptibility to oxidative stress and produce more mitochondrial ROS. This study demonstrates that increasing RCAN1 expression alters mitochondrial function and increases the susceptibility of neurons to oxidative stress in mammalian cells. These findings further contribute to our understanding of RCAN1 and its potential role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as AD and DS.
View details for DOI 10.1155/2014/520316
View details for Web of Science ID 000337832100001
View details for PubMedID 25009690
The presence of 5-HT in myenteric varicosities is not due to uptake of 5-HT released from the mucosa during dissection: use of a novel method for quantifying 5-HT immunoreactivity in myenteric ganglia
NEUROGASTROENTEROLOGY AND MOTILITY
2013; 25 (10): 849-853
Within the pancreatic islet, the β-cell represents the ultimate biosensor. Its central function is to accurately sense glucose levels in the blood and consequently release appropriate amounts of insulin. As the only cell type capable of insulin production, the β-cell must balance this crucial workload with self-preservation and, when required, regeneration. Evidence suggests that the β-cell has an important ally in intraislet endothelial cells (ECs). As well as providing a conduit for delivery of the primary input stimulus (glucose) and dissemination of its most important effector (insulin), intraislet blood vessels deliver oxygen to these dense clusters of metabolically active cells. Furthermore, it appears that ECs directly impact insulin gene expression and secretion and β-cell survival. This review discusses the molecules and pathways involved in the crosstalk between β-cells and intraislet ECs. The evidence supporting the intraislet EC as an important partner for β-cell function is examined to highlight the relevance of this axis in the context of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Recent work that has established the potential of ECs or their progenitors to enhance the re-establishment of glycemic control following pancreatic islet transplantation in animal models is discussed.
View details for DOI 10.2337/db13-0617
View details for Web of Science ID 000328680400001
View details for PubMedID 24357688
RCAN1 regulates vesicle recycling and quantal release kinetics via effects on calcineurin activity
JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY
2013; 124 (3): 290-299
Quantifying the relative abundance of different neurotransmitters in the myenteric plexus has proved challenging using conventional immunocytochemical approaches. Here, we present a new method of quantifying neurotransmitter content of an important enteric signalling molecule, serotonin (5-HT), in the myenteric plexus of guinea pig colon under different experimental conditions.Sections of guinea pig distal colon were exposed to different conditions including changes in temperature, dissection protocol, stimulation with faecal pellet distension and exogenous 5-HT. Sections were fixed and immuno-labelled for 5-HT. 5-HT staining density was quantified within myenteric plexus ganglia using defined settings and an analysis approach that uses threshold settings allowing for variances in background and tissue staining intensities and which calculates the area of tissue containing 5-HT above these thresholds.No differences were found in 5-HT immunoreactivity in the myenteric plexus when compared between tissues that were freshly fixed, undissected, or with mucosa and submucous plexus dissected away at either 4 or 37 °C. Increased myenteric plexus 5-HT density was observed in preparations repeatedly stimulated using faecal pellet stimulation prior to fixation. Furthermore, exogenous 5-HT also increased 5-HT density.We demonstrate that quantitative differences in 5-HT immunoreactivity can be characterized using immunohistochemistry. This approach may be applied to measuring other neurotransmitter(s) within the enteric nervous system. While 5-HT is present in the guinea-pig enteric ganglia, this is not due to accumulation via in vitro handling and release from the mucosa, and furthermore, repeated colonic stimulation via distension increases 5-HT in the myenteric plexus.
View details for DOI 10.1111/nmo.12189
View details for Web of Science ID 000324925100016
View details for PubMedID 23901879
Increased Expression of the Glucose-Responsive Gene, RCAN1, Causes Hypoinsulinemia, beta-Cell Dysfunction, and Diabetes
2012; 153 (11): 5212-5221
We have previously shown that Regulator of Calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) regulates multiple stages of vesicle exocytosis. However, the mechanisms by which RCAN1 affects secretory vesicle exocytosis and quantal release kinetics remain unknown. Here, we use carbon fibre amperometry to detect exocytosis from chromaffin cells and identify these underlying mechanisms. We observe reduced exocytosis with repeated stimulations in chromaffin cells over-expressing RCAN1 (RCAN1(ox)), but not in wild-type (WT) cells, indicating a negative effect of RCAN1 on vesicle recycling and endocytosis. Acute exposure to calcineurin inhibitors, cyclosporine A and FK-506, replicates this effect in WT cells but has no additional effect in RCAN1(ox) cells. When we chronically expose WT cells to cyclosporine A and FK-506 we find that catecholamine release per vesicle and pre-spike foot (PSF) signal parameters are decreased, similar to that in RCAN1(ox) cells. Inhibiting calcineurin activity in RCAN1(ox) cells has no additional effect on the amount of catecholamine release per vesicle but further reduces PSF signal parameters. Although electron microscopy studies indicate these changes are not because of altered vesicle number or distribution in RCAN1(ox) cells, the smaller vesicle and dense core size we observe in RCAN1(ox) cells may underlie the reduced quantal release in these cells. Thus, our results indicate that RCAN1 most likely affects vesicle recycling and quantal release kinetics via the inhibition of calcineurin activity.
View details for DOI 10.1111/jnc.12086
View details for Web of Science ID 000313261100003
View details for PubMedID 23134420
Loss of visceral pain following colorectal distension in an endothelin-3 deficient mouse model of Hirschsprung's disease
JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LONDON
2011; 589 (7): 1691-1706
RCAN1 is a chromosome 21 gene that controls secretion in endocrine cells, regulates mitochondrial function, and is sensitive to oxidative stress. Regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) is also an endogenous inhibitor of the protein phosphatase calcineurin, the inhibition of which leads to hypoinsulinemia and diabetes in humans and mice. However, the presence or the role of RCAN1 in insulin-secreting β-cells and its potential role in the pathogenesis of diabetes is unknown. Hence, the aim of this study is to investigate the presence of RCAN1 in β-cells and identify its role in β-cell function. RCAN1 is expressed in mouse islets and in the cytosol of pancreatic β-cells. We find RCAN1 is a glucose-responsive gene with a 1.5-fold increase in expression observed in pancreatic islets in response to chronic hyperglycemia. The overexpression of the human RCAN1.1 isoform in mice under the regulation of its endogenous promoter causes diabetes, age-associated hyperglycemia, reduced glucose tolerance, hypoinsulinemia, loss of β-cells, reduced β-cell insulin secretion, aberrant mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, and the down-regulation of key β-cell genes. Our data therefore identifies a novel molecular link between the overexpression of RCAN1 and β-cell dysfunction. The glucose-responsive nature of RCAN1 provides a potential mechanism of action associated with the β-cell dysfunction observed in diabetes.
View details for DOI 10.1210/en.2011-2149
View details for Web of Science ID 000310359300012
View details for PubMedID 23011918
Galanin receptor 3-a potential target for acute pancreatitis therapy
NEUROGASTROENTEROLOGY AND MOTILITY
2011; 23 (3): e141-e151
Endothelin peptides and their endogenous receptors play a major role in nociception in a variety of different organs. They also play an essential role in the development of the enteric nervous system. Mice with deletions of the endothelin-3 gene (lethal spotted mice, ls/ls) develop congenital aganglionosis. However, little is known about how nociception might be affected in the aganglionic rectum of mice deficient in endothelin-3. In this study we investigated changes in spinal afferent innervation and visceral pain transmission from the aganglionic rectum in ls/ls mice. Electromyogram recordings from anaesthetized ls/ls mice revealed a deficit in visceromotor responses arising from the aganglionic colorectum in response to noxious colorectal distension. Loss of visceromotor responses (VMRs) in ls/ls mice was selective, as no reduction in VMRs was detected after stimulation of the bladder or somatic organs. Calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) immunoreactivity, retrograde neuronal tracing and extracellular afferent recordings from the aganglionic rectum revealed decreased colorectal spinal innervation, combined with a reduction in mechanosensitivity of rectal afferents. The sensory defect in ls/ls mice is primarily associated with changes in low threshold wide dynamic range rectal afferents. In conclusion, disruption of endothelin 3 gene expression not only affects development and function of the enteric nervous system, but also specific classes of spinal rectal mechanoreceptors, which are required for visceral nociception from the colorectum.
View details for DOI 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.202820
View details for Web of Science ID 000288959800018
View details for PubMedID 21320883
Galanin participates in the pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis (AP). The galanin receptor (GALR) sub-types involved, however, are unclear. We aimed to determine GALRs messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in mouse pancreas, describe their localization, and ascertain if GALR2 and GALR3 are involved in AP.Galanin receptor expression in murine whole pancreas, acinar, and islet cells was quantified by polymerase chain reaction amplification of reverse-transcribed RNA for mRNA, Western blot analysis for protein and in situ hybridization for GALR localization. Isolated acinar cells were used to determine galanin's effect on amylase secretion. Acute pancreatitis was induced in mice by caerulein injections. Mice, with and without AP, were treated with the highly selective GALR2 antagonist M871, or the specific GALR3 antagonist SNAP-37889. Indices of AP were measured at 12 h.Murine pancreas expresses mRNA for GALRs. In islets the expression of all GALR are comparable, whereas in acinar cells GALR3 is predominantly expressed. Western blot analysis confirmed that the GALR proteins are expressed by acinar cells. In situ hybridization analysis confirmed that GALR3 mRNA is present in islet and acinar cells, while mRNA for GALR1 and 2 is confined to islets. Galanin did not influence basal and caerulein-stimulated amylase release from acinar cells. M871 treatment reduced some, whereas SNAP-37889 treatment reduced all indices of AP (by 40-80%).Galanin receptor mRNA and protein are expressed in mouse pancreas, with GALR3 mRNA predominating. GALR3 antagonism reduced the severity of AP whereas GALR2 antagonism was less effective. GALR3 is a potential target for treatment of AP.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2010.01662.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000287145200003
View details for PubMedID 21303427