Synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) is a key molecule in the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein (SNARE) complex mediating fast Ca(2+)-triggered release of hormones and neurotransmitters, and both splice variants, SNAP-25a and SNAP-25b, can participate in this process. Here we explore the hypothesis that minor alterations in the machinery mediating regulated membrane fusion can increase the susceptibility for metabolic disease and precede obesity and type 2 diabetes. Thus, we used a mouse mutant engineered to express normal levels of SNAP-25 but only SNAP-25a. These SNAP-25b-deficient mice were exposed to either a control or a high-fat/high-sucrose diet. Monitoring of food intake, body weight, hypothalamic function, and lipid and glucose homeostases showed that SNAP-25b-deficient mice fed with control diet developed hyperglycemia, liver steatosis, and adipocyte hypertrophy, conditions dramatically exacerbated when combined with the high-fat/high-sucrose diet. Thus, modified SNARE function regulating stimulus-dependent exocytosis can increase the vulnerability to and even provoke metabolic disease. When combined with a high-fat/high-sucrose diet, this vulnerability resulted in diabesity. Our SNAP-25b-deficient mouse may represent a diabesity model.
Keywords: SNARE; glucose metabolism; hypothalamus; insulin secretion; regulated exocytosis.