β-Cell Dysfunctional ERAD/Ubiquitin/Proteasome System in Type 2 Diabetes Mediated by Islet Amyloid Polypeptide–Induced UCH-L1 Deficiency

  1. Peter C. Butler1
  1. 1Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California;
  2. 2Endocrine Research Unit, Mayo Clinic and Medical College, Rochester, Minnesota.
  1. Corresponding author: Safia Costes, scostes{at}


OBJECTIVE The islet in type 2 diabetes is characterized by β-cell apoptosis, β-cell endoplasmic reticulum stress, and islet amyloid deposits derived from islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP). Toxic oligomers of IAPP form intracellularly in β-cells in humans with type 2 diabetes, suggesting impaired clearance of misfolded proteins. In this study, we investigated whether human-IAPP (h-IAPP) disrupts the endoplasmic reticulum–associated degradation/ubiquitin/proteasome system.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We used pancreatic tissue from humans with and without type 2 diabetes, isolated islets from h-IAPP transgenic rats, isolated human islets, and INS 832/13 cells transduced with adenoviruses expressing either h-IAPP or a comparable expression of rodent-IAPP. Immunofluorescence and Western blotting were used to detect polyubiquitinated proteins and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) protein levels. Proteasome activity was measured in isolated rat and human islets. UCH-L1 was knocked down by small-interfering RNA in INS 832/13 cells and apoptosis was evaluated.

RESULTS We report accumulation of polyubiquinated proteins and UCH-L1 deficiency in β-cells of humans with type 2 diabetes. These findings were reproduced by expression of oligomeric h-IAPP but not soluble rat-IAPP. Downregulation of UCH-L1 expression and activity to reproduce that caused by h-IAPP in β-cells induced endoplasmic reticulum stress leading to apoptosis.

CONCLUSIONS Our results indicate that defective protein degradation in β-cells in type 2 diabetes can, at least in part, be attributed to misfolded h-IAPP leading to UCH-L1 deficiency, which in turn further compromises β-cell viability.


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  • Received April 12, 2010.
  • Accepted October 14, 2010.

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