Cover Story Current Issue

White adipose tissue (WAT) is a complex organ that plays a central role in systemic energy balance through its interrelated metabolic, endocrine, and immune functions. Adipocytes, the parenchymal cells of adipose tissue, have diverse functions that include storage and mobilization of lipids. They also release endocrine signals that report energy status to the brain, regulating metabolic functions in peripheral organs. Importantly, the metabolic character of white adipocytes is flexible, with cells capable of assuming distinct anabolic and catabolic/thermogenic phenotypes, often within the same adipose tissue depot

Elizabeth A. Rondini, Vanesa D. Ramseyer, Rayanne B. Burl, Roger Pique-Regi, James G. Granneman

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Current Issue

β-Cell pre-mir-21 induces dysfunction and loss of cellular identity by targeting transforming growth factor beta 2 (Tgfb2) and Smad family member 2 (Smad2) mRNAs

Sara Ibrahim, Macey Johnson, Clarissa Hernandez Stephens, Jerry Xu, ... Emily K. Sims

Objective

β-cell microRNA-21 (miR-21) is increased by islet inflammatory stress but it decreases glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Thus, we sought to define the effects of miR-21 on β-cell function using in vitro and in vivo systems.

Methods

We developed a tetracycline-on system of pre-miR-21 induction in clonal β-cells and human islets, along with transgenic zebrafish and mouse models of β-cell-specific pre-miR-21 overexpression.

Results

β-cell miR-21 induction markedly reduced GSIS and led to reductions in transcription factors associated with β-cell identity and increased markers of dedifferentiation, which led us to hypothesize that miR-21 induces β-cell dysfunction by loss of cell identity. In silico analysis identified transforming growth factor-beta 2 (Tgfb2) and Smad family member 2 (Smad2) mRNAs as predicted miR-21 targets associated with the maintenance of β-cell identity. Tgfb2 and Smad2 were confirmed as direct miR-21 targets through RT-PCR, immunoblot, pulldown, and luciferase assays. In vivo zebrafish and mouse models exhibited glucose intolerance, decreased peak GSIS, decreased expression of β-cell identity markers, increased insulin and glucagon co-staining cells, and reduced Tgfb2 and Smad2 expression.

Conclusions

These findings implicate miR-21-mediated reduction of mRNAs specifying β-cell identity as a contributor to β-cell dysfunction by the loss of cellular differentiation.

β-Cell pre-mir-21 induces dysfunction and loss of cellular identity by targeting transforming growth factor beta 2 (Tgfb2) and Smad family member 2 (Smad2) mRNAs

Sara Ibrahim, Macey Johnson, Clarissa Hernandez Stephens, Jerry Xu, ... Emily K. Sims

Objective

β-cell microRNA-21 (miR-21) is increased by islet inflammatory stress but it decreases glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Thus, we sought to define the effects of miR-21 on β-cell function using in vitro and in vivo systems.

Methods

We developed a tetracycline-on system of pre-miR-21 induction in clonal β-cells and human islets, along with transgenic zebrafish and mouse models of β-cell-specific pre-miR-21 overexpression.

Results

β-cell miR-21 induction markedly reduced GSIS and led to reductions in transcription factors associated with β-cell identity and increased markers of dedifferentiation, which led us to hypothesize that miR-21 induces β-cell dysfunction by loss of cell identity. In silico analysis identified transforming growth factor-beta 2 (Tgfb2) and Smad family member 2 (Smad2) mRNAs as predicted miR-21 targets associated with the maintenance of β-cell identity. Tgfb2 and Smad2 were confirmed as direct miR-21 targets through RT-PCR, immunoblot, pulldown, and luciferase assays. In vivo zebrafish and mouse models exhibited glucose intolerance, decreased peak GSIS, decreased expression of β-cell identity markers, increased insulin and glucagon co-staining cells, and reduced Tgfb2 and Smad2 expression.

Conclusions

These findings implicate miR-21-mediated reduction of mRNAs specifying β-cell identity as a contributor to β-cell dysfunction by the loss of cellular differentiation.

2020 impact factor: 7.4

The 60 Second Metabolist

In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

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