Journal Article

Wolfram syndrome 1 gene (<i>WFS1</i>) product localizes to secretory granules and determines granule acidification in pancreatic β-cells

Masayuki Hatanaka, Katsuya Tanabe, Akie Yanai, Yasuharu Ohta, Manabu Kondo, Masaru Akiyama, Koh Shinoda, Yoshitomo Oka and Yukio Tanizawa

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 20, issue 7, pages 1274-1284
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Wolfram syndrome 1 gene (WFS1) product localizes to secretory granules and determines granule acidification in pancreatic β-cells

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Wolfram syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by juvenile-onset insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and optic atrophy. The gene responsible for the syndrome (WFS1) encodes an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resident transmembrane protein. The Wfs1-null mouse exhibits progressive insulin deficiency causing diabetes. Previous work suggested that the function of the WFS1 protein is connected to unfolded protein response and to intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis. However, its precise molecular function in pancreatic β-cells remains elusive. In our present study, immunofluorescent and electron-microscopic analyses revealed that WFS1 localizes not only to ER but also to secretory granules in pancreatic β-cells. Intragranular acidification was assessed by measuring intracellular fluorescence intensity raised by the acidotrophic agent, 3-[2,4-dinitroanilino]-3′-amino-N-methyldipropyramine. Compared with wild-type β-cells, there was a 32% reduction in the intensity in WFS1-deficient β-cells, indicating the impairment of granular acidification. This phenotype may, at least partly, account for the evidence that Wfs1-null islets have impaired proinsulin processing, resulting in an increased circulating proinsulin level. Morphometric analysis using electron microscopy evidenced that the density of secretory granules attached to the plasma membrane was significantly reduced in Wfs1-null β-cells relative to that in wild-type β-cells. This may be relevant to the recent finding that granular acidification is required for the priming of secretory granules preceding exocytosis and may partly explain the fact that glucose-induced insulin secretion is profoundly impaired in young prediabetic Wfs1-null mice. These results thus provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of β-cell dysfunction in patients with Wolfram syndrome.

Journal Article.  5434 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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