Glucose-stimulated and self-limiting insulin production by glucose 6-phosphatase promoter driven insulin expression in hepatoma cells

Gene Ther. 2000 Nov;7(21):1802-9. doi: 10.1038/


The liver is an attractive target organ for insulin gene expression in type 1 diabetes as it contains appropriate cellular mechanisms of regulated gene expression in response to blood glucose and insulin. We hypothesize that insulin production regulated by both glucose and insulin may be achieved using the promoter of the glucose 6-phosphatase gene (G6Pase), the expression of which in the liver is induced by glucose and suppressed by insulin. Recombinant adenoviral vectors expressing the reporter gene CAT or insulin under transcriptional direction of the G6Pase promoter were constructed. Glucose-stimulated as well as self-limiting insulin production was achieved in vector-transduced hepatoma cells in which expression of the insulin gene was controlled by the G6Pase promoter. While insulin strongly inhibited the G6Pase promoter activity under low glucose conditions, its inhibitory capacity was attenuated when glucose levels were elevated. At the physiologic glucose level of 5.5 mM glucose, vector-transduced hepatoma cells produced a self-limited level of insulin at approximately 0.2-0.3 ng/ml, which is within the range of fasting levels of insulin in normal animals. These results indicate that the G6Pase promoter possesses desirable features and may be developed for regulated hepatic insulin gene expression in type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase / genetics*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Insulin / analysis
  • Insulin / biosynthesis*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Rats
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Transfection / methods


  • Insulin
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase
  • Glucose