Nitric oxide is produced at micromolar levels by pancreatic β-cells during exposure to proinflammatory cytokines. While classically viewed as damaging, nitric oxide also activates pathways that promote β-cell survival. We have shown that nitric oxide, in a cell type-selective manner, inhibits the DNA damage response (DDR) and, in doing so, protects β-cells from DNA damage-induced apoptosis. This study explores potential mechanisms by which nitric oxide inhibits DDR signaling. We show that inhibition of DDR signaling (measured by γH2AX formation and the phosphorylation of KAP1) is selective for nitric oxide, as other forms of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species do not impair DDR signaling. The kinetics and broad range of DDR substrates that are inhibited suggest that protein phosphatase activation may be one mechanism by which nitric oxide attenuates DDR signaling in β-cells. While protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) is a primary regulator of DDR signaling and an inhibitor of PP1 (IPP1) is selectively expressed only in β-cells, disruption of either IPP1 or PP1 does not modify the inhibitory actions of nitric oxide on DDR signaling in β-cells. These findings support a PP1-independent mechanism by which nitric oxide selectively impairs DDR signaling and protects β-cells from DNA damage-induced apoptosis.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.