Islet ChREBP-β is increased in diabetes and controls ChREBP-α and glucose-induced gene expression via a negative feedback loop

Mol Metab. 2016 Sep 30;5(12):1208-1215. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2016.09.010. eCollection 2016 Dec.


Objective: Carbohydrate-response element-binding protein (ChREBP) is the major transcription factor conferring glucose-induced gene expression in pancreatic islets, liver and adipose tissue. Recently, a novel ChREBP isoform, ChREBP-β, was identified in adipose tissue and found to be also expressed in islets and involved in glucose-induced beta cell proliferation. However, the physiological function of this less abundant β-isoform in the islet, and in diabetes, is largely unknown. The aims of the present study, therefore, were to determine how diabetes affects ChREBP-β and elucidate its physiological role in pancreatic beta cells.

Methods: Non-obese diabetic and obese, diabetic ob/ob mice were used as models of T1D and T2D and human islets and the rat INS-1 beta cell line were exposed to low/high glucose and used for ChREBP isoform-specific gain-and-loss-of-function experiments. Changes in ChREBP-β and ChREBP-α were assessed by qRT-PCR, immunoblotting, promoter luciferase, and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies.

Results: Expression of the ChREBP-β isoform was highly induced in diabetes and by glucose, whereas ChREBP-α was downregulated. Interestingly, ChREBP-β gain-of-function experiments further revealed that it was ChREBP-β that downregulated ChREBP-α through a negative feedback loop. On the other hand, ChREBP-β knockdown led to unabated ChREBP-α activity and glucose-induced expression of target genes, suggesting that one of the physiological roles of this novel β-isoform is to help keep glucose-induced and ChREBP-α-mediated gene expression under control.

Conclusions: We have identified a previously unappreciated negative feedback loop by which glucose-induced ChREBP-β downregulates ChREBP-α-signaling providing new insight into the physiological role of islet ChREBP-β and into the regulation of glucose-induced gene expression.

Keywords: Carbohydrate response element binding protein; Diabetes; Glucose-induced gene expression; Pancreatic islet; Transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Rats
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Mlxipl protein, mouse
  • Mlxipl protein, rat
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Transcription Factors
  • Glucose