Insulin and Glucose Alter Death-Associated Protein Kinase 3 (DAPK3) DNA Methylation in Human Skeletal Muscle

Diabetes. 2017 Mar;66(3):651-662. doi: 10.2337/db16-0882. Epub 2016 Dec 23.


DNA methylation is altered by environmental factors. We hypothesized that DNA methylation is altered in skeletal muscle in response to either insulin or glucose exposure. We performed a genome-wide DNA methylation analysis in muscle from healthy men before and after insulin exposure. DNA methylation of selected genes was determined in muscle from healthy men and men with type 2 diabetes before and after a glucose tolerance test. Insulin altered DNA methylation in the 3' untranslated region of the calcium pump ATP2A3 gene. Insulin increased DNA methylation in the gene body of DAPK3, a gene involved in cell proliferation, apoptosis, and autophagy. DAPK3 methylation was reduced in patients with type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrate ingestion reduced DAPK3 DNA methylation in healthy men and men with type 2 diabetes, suggesting glucose may play a role. Supporting this, DAPK3 DNA methylation was inversely correlated with the 2-h glucose concentration. Whereas glucose incorporation to glycogen was unaltered by small interfering RNA against DAPK3, palmitate oxidation was increased. In conclusion, insulin and glucose exposure acutely alter the DNA methylation profile of skeletal muscle, indicating that DNA methylation constitutes a rapidly adaptive epigenetic mark. Furthermore, insulin and glucose modulate DAPK3 DNA methylation in a reciprocal manner, suggesting a feedback loop in the control of the epigenome.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Death-Associated Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases / genetics*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Glycogen
  • DAPK3 protein, human
  • Death-Associated Protein Kinases
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • ATP2A3 protein, human
  • Glucose