Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and pancreatic β cell dysfunction, the latter possibly caused by a defect in insulin signaling in β cells. Inhibition of class IA phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), using a mouse model lacking the pik3r1 gene specifically in β cells and the pik3r2 gene systemically (βDKO mouse), results in glucose intolerance and reduced insulin secretion in response to glucose. β cells of βDKO mice had defective exocytosis machinery due to decreased expression of soluble N-ethylmaleimide attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex proteins and loss of cell-cell synchronization in terms of Ca(2+) influx. These defects were normalized by expression of a constitutively active form of Akt in the islets of βDKO mice, preserving insulin secretion in response to glucose. The class IA PI3K pathway in β cells in vivo is important in the regulation of insulin secretion and may be a therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes.
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