Cross-talk between the unfolded protein response and nuclear factor-κB signalling pathways regulates cytokine-mediated beta cell death in MIN6 cells and isolated mouse islets

J Y Chan, T J Biden, D R Laybutt
Diabetologia 2012, 55 (11): 2999-3009

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Pancreatic beta cell destruction in type 1 diabetes may be mediated by cytokines such as IL-1β, IFN-γ and TNF-α. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) signalling are activated by cytokines, but their significance in beta cells remains unclear. Here, we investigated the role of cytokine-induced ER stress and NFκB signalling in beta cell destruction.

METHODS: Isolated mouse islets and MIN6 beta cells were incubated with IL-1β, IFN-γ and TNF-α. The chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA) was used to inhibit ER stress. Protein production and gene expression were assessed by western blot and real-time RT-PCR.

RESULTS: We found in beta cells that inhibition of cytokine-induced ER stress with PBA unexpectedly potentiated cell death and NFκB-regulated gene expression. These responses were dependent on NFκB activation and were associated with a prolonged decrease in the inhibitor of κB-α (IκBα) protein, resulting from increased IκBα protein degradation. Cytokine-mediated NFκB-regulated gene expression was also potentiated after pre-induction of ER stress with thapsigargin, but not tunicamycin. Both PBA and thapsigargin treatments led to preferential upregulation of ER degradation genes over ER-resident chaperones as part of the adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR). In contrast, tunicamycin activated a balanced adaptive UPR in association with the maintenance of Xbp1 splicing.

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: These data suggest a novel mechanism by which cytokine-mediated ER stress interacts with NFκB signalling in beta cells, by regulating IκBα degradation. The cross-talk between the UPR and NFκB signalling pathways may be important in the regulation of cytokine-mediated beta cell death.

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