AMP-activated protein kinase can induce apoptosis of insulin-producing MIN6 cells through stimulation of c-Jun-N-terminal kinase


    We have recently shown that conditions known to activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in primary beta-cells can trigger their apoptosis. The present study demonstrates that this is also the case in the MIN6 beta-cell line, which was used to investigate the underlying mechanism. Sustained activation of AMPK was induced by culture with the adenosine analogue AICA-riboside or at low glucose concentrations. Both conditions induced a sequential activation of AMPK, c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) and caspase-3. The effects of AMPK on JNK activation and apoptosis were demonstrated by adenoviral expression of constitutively active AMPK, a condition which reproduced the earlier-described AMPK-dependent effects on pyruvate kinase and acetyl-coA-carboxylase. The effects of JNK activation on apoptosis were demonstrated by the observations that (i). its inhibition by dicumarol prevented caspase-3 activation and apoptosis, (ii). adenoviral expression of the JNK-interacting scaffold protein JIP-1/IB-1 increased AICA-riboside-induced JNK activation and apoptosis. In primary beta-cells, AMPK activation was also found to activate JNK, involving primarily the JNK 2 (p54) isoform. It is concluded that prolonged stimulation of AMPK can induce apoptosis of insulin-producing cells through an activation pathway that involves JNK, and subsequently, caspase-3.

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