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Diabetes. 2003 Apr;52(4):974-83.

Differential activation mechanisms of Erk-1/2 and p70(S6K) by glucose in pancreatic beta-cells.

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  • 1Pacific Northwest Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Glucose can activate the mitogen-activated kinases, Erk-1/2, and the ribosomal-S6 kinase, p70(S6K), in beta-cells, contributing to an increase in mitogenesis. However, the signaling mechanism by which glucose induces Erk-1/2 and p70(S6K) phosphorylation activation is undefined. Increased glucose metabolism increases [Ca(2+)](i) and [cAMP], and it was investigated if these secondary signals were linked to glucose-induced Erk-1/2 and p70(S6K) activation in pancreatic beta-cells. Blocking Ca(2+) influx with verapamil, or inhibiting protein kinase A (PKA) with H89, prevented glucose-induced Erk-1/2 phosphorylation. Increasing cAMP levels by GLP-1 potentiated glucose-induced Erk-1/2 phosphorylation via PKA activation. Elevation of [Ca(2+)](i) by glyburide potentiated Erk-1/2 phosphorylation, which was also inhibited by H89, suggesting increased [Ca(2+)](i) preceded PKA for glucose-induced Erk-1/2 activation. Adenoviral-mediated expression of dominant negative Ras in INS-1 cells decreased IGF-1-induced Erk-1/2 phosphorylation but had no effect on that by glucose. Collectively, our study indicates that a glucose-induced rise in [Ca(2+)](i) leads to cAMP-induced activation of PKA that acts downstream of Ras and upstream of the MAP/Erk kinase, MEK, to mediate Erk-1/2 phosphorylation via phosphorylation activation of Raf-1. In contrast, glucose-induced p70(S6K) activation, in the same beta-cells, was mediated by a distinct signaling pathway independent of Ca(2+)/cAMP, most likely via mTOR-kinase acting as an "ATP-sensor."

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