Aims/hypothesis: Oxidative stress is implicated in beta cell glucotoxicity in type 2 diabetes. Inhibitor of differentiation (ID) proteins are transcriptional regulators induced by hyperglycaemia in islets, but the mechanisms involved and their role in beta cells are not clear. Here we investigated whether or not oxidative stress regulates ID levels in beta cells and the role of ID proteins in beta cells during oxidative stress.
Methods: MIN6 cells were cultured in H2O2 or ribose to induce oxidative stress. ID1, ID3 and small MAF proteins (MAFF, MAFG and MAFK) were inhibited using small interfering RNA. Isolated islets from Id1(-/-), Id3(-/-) and diabetic db/db mice were used.
Results: ID1-4 expression was upregulated in vivo in the islets of diabetic db/db mice and stimulated in vitro by ribose and H2O2. Id1/3 inhibition reduced the expression of multiple antioxidant genes and potentiated oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. This finding was associated with increased levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species, altered mitochondrial morphology and reduced expression of Tfam, which encodes a mitochondrial transcription factor, and respiratory chain components. Id1/3 inhibition also reduced the expression of small MAF transcription factors (MafF, MafG and MafK), interacting partners of nuclear factor, erythroid 2-like 2 (NFE2L2), master regulator of the antioxidant response. Inhibition of small MAFs reduced the expression of antioxidant genes and potentiated oxidative stress-induced apoptosis, thus recapitulating the effects of Id1/3 inhibition.
Conclusions/interpretation: Our study identifies IDs as a novel family of oxidative stress-responsive proteins in beta cells. IDs are crucial regulators of the adaptive antioxidant-mitochondrial response that promotes beta cell survival during oxidative stress through a novel link to the NFE2L2-small MAF pathway.