CNC-bZIP Protein Nrf1-Dependent Regulation of Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Secretion

Hongzhi Zheng, Jingqi Fu, Peng Xue, Rui Zhao, Jian Dong, Dianxin Liu, Masayuki Yamamoto, Qingchun Tong, Weiping Teng, Weidong Qu, Qiang Zhang, Melvin E. Andersen, Jingbo Pi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: The inability of pancreatic β-cells to secrete sufficient insulin in response to glucose stimulation is a major contributing factor to the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We investigated both the in vitro and in vivo effects of deficiency of nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 1 (Nrf1) in β-cells on β-cell function and glucose homeostasis. Results: Silencing of Nrf1 in β-cells leads to a pre-T2D phenotype with disrupted glucose metabolism and impaired insulin secretion. Specifically, MIN6 β-cells with stable knockdown of Nrf1 (Nrf1-KD) and isolated islets from β-cell-specific Nrf1-knockout [Nrf1(b)-KO] mice displayed impaired glucose responsiveness, including elevated basal insulin release and decreased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Nrf1(b)-KO mice exhibited severe fasting hyperinsulinemia, reduced GSIS, and glucose intolerance. Silencing of Nrf1 in MIN6 cells resulted in oxidative stress and altered glucose metabolism, with increases in both glucose uptake and aerobic glycolysis, which is associated with the elevated basal insulin release and reduced glucose responsiveness. The elevated glycolysis and reduced glucose responsiveness due to Nrf1 silencing likely result from altered expression of glucose metabolic enzymes, with induction of high-affinity hexokinase 1 and suppression of low-affinity glucokinase. Innovation: Our study demonstrated a novel role of Nrf1 in regulating glucose metabolism and insulin secretion in β-cells and characterized Nrf1 as a key transcription factor that regulates the coupling of glycolysis and mitochondrial metabolism and GSIS. Conclusion: Nrf1 plays critical roles in regulating glucose metabolism, mitochondrial function, and insulin secretion, suggesting that Nrf1 may be a novel target to improve the function of insulin-secreting β-cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-831
Number of pages13
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 1


Dive into the research topics of 'CNC-bZIP Protein Nrf1-Dependent Regulation of Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Secretion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this