RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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Ask1 gene deletion blocks maternal diabetes-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress in the developing embryo by disrupting the unfolded protein response signalosome.

Diabetes 2015 March
Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is activated by various stresses. The link between ASK1 activation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, two causal events in diabetic embryopathy, has not been determined. We sought to investigate whether ASK1 is involved in the unfolded protein response (UPR) that leads to ER stress. Deleting Ask1 abrogated diabetes-induced UPR by suppressing phosphorylation of inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α), and double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR)-like ER kinase (PERK) blocked the mitochondrial translocation of proapoptotic Bcl-2 members and ER stress. ASK1 participated in the IRE1α signalosome, and removing ASK1 abrogated the proapoptotic kinase activity of IRE1α. Ask1 deletion suppressed diabetes-induced IRE1α endoriboneclease activities, which led to X-box binding protein 1 mRNA cleavage, an ER stress marker, decreased expression of microRNAs, and increased expression of a miR-17 target, thioredoxin-interacting protein (Txnip), a thioredoxin binding protein, which enhanced ASK1 activation by disrupting the thioredoxin-ASK1 complexes. ASK1 is essential for the assembly and function of the IRE1α signalosome, which forms a positive feedback loop with ASK1 through Txnip. ASK1 knockdown in C17.2 neural stem cells diminished high glucose- or tunicamycin-induced IRE1α activation, which further supports our hypothesis that ASK1 plays a causal role in diabetes-induced ER stress and apoptosis.

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