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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Oct 15;307(8):E664-73. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00168.2014. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

SUMOylation protects against IL-1β-induced apoptosis in INS-1 832/13 cells and human islets.

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Department of Pharmacology and Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Pharmacology and Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Posttranslational modification by the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) peptides, known as SUMOylation, is reversed by the sentrin/SUMO-specific proteases (SENPs). While increased SUMOylation reduces β-cell exocytosis, insulin secretion, and responsiveness to GLP-1, the impact of SUMOylation on islet cell survival is unknown. Mouse islets, INS-1 832/13 cells, or human islets were transduced with adenoviruses to increase either SENP1 or SUMO1 or were transfected with siRNA duplexes to knockdown SENP1. We examined insulin secretion, intracellular Ca²⁺ responses, induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress markers and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, and apoptosis by TUNEL and caspase 3 cleavage. Surprisingly, upregulation of SENP1 reduces insulin secretion and impairs intracellular Ca²⁺ handling. This secretory dysfunction is due to SENP1-induced cell death. Indeed, the detrimental effect of SENP1 on secretory function is diminished when two mediators of β-cell death, iNOS and NF-κB, are pharmacologically inhibited. Conversely, enhanced SUMOylation protects against IL-1β-induced cell death. This is associated with reduced iNOS expression, cleavage of caspase 3, and nuclear translocation of NF-κB. Taken together, these findings identify SUMO1 as a novel antiapoptotic protein in islets and demonstrate that reduced viability accounts for impaired islet function following SENP1 up-regulation.


SENP1; SUMOylation; inducible nitric oxide synthase; islets of Langerhans; sentrin/SUMO-specific protease 1

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