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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 11;108(41):16876-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1114228108. Epub 2011 Sep 26.

mTOR links incretin signaling to HIF induction in pancreatic beta cells.

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The Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Under feeding conditions, the incretin hormone GLP-1 promotes pancreatic islet viability by triggering the cAMP pathway in beta cells. Increases in PKA activity stimulate the phosphorylation of CREB, which in turn enhances beta cell survival by upregulating IRS2 expression. Although sustained GLP-1 action appears important for its salutary effects on islet function, the transient nature of CREB activation has pointed to the involvement of additional nuclear factors in this process. Following the acute induction of CREB-regulated genes, cAMP triggers a second delayed phase of gene expression that proceeds via the HIF transcription factor. Increases in cAMP promote the accumulation of HIF1α in beta cells by activating the mTOR pathway. As exposure to rapamycin disrupts GLP-1 effects on beta cell viability, these results demonstrate how a pathway associated with tumor growth also mediates salutary effects of an incretin hormone on pancreatic islet function.

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