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EMBO J. 2006 Mar 8;25(5):977-86. Epub 2006 Feb 23.

ICER induced by hyperglycemia represses the expression of genes essential for insulin exocytosis.

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  • 1Département de Médecine Interne, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland.


The GTPases Rab3a and Rab27a and their effectors Granuphilin/Slp4 and Noc2 are essential regulators of neuroendocrine secretion. Chronic exposure of pancreatic beta-cells to supraphysiological glucose levels decreased selectively the expression of these proteins. This glucotoxic effect was mimicked by cAMP-raising agents and blocked by PKA inhibitors. We demonstrate that the transcriptional repressor ICER, which is induced in a PKA-dependent manner by chronic hyperglycemia and cAMP-raising agents, is responsible for the decline of the four genes. ICER overexpression diminished the level of Granuphilin, Noc2, Rab3a and Rab27a by binding to cAMP responsive elements located in the promoters of these genes and inhibited exocytosis of beta-cells in response to secretagogues. Moreover, the loss in the expression of the genes of the secretory machinery caused by glucose and cAMP-raising agents was prevented by an antisense construct that reduces ICER levels. We propose that induction of inappropriate ICER levels lead to defects in the secretory process of pancreatic beta-cells possibly contributing, in conjunction with other known deleterious effects of hyperglycemia, to defective insulin release in type 2 diabetes.

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