Insulin secretion deficits in a Prader-Willi syndrome β-cell model are associated with a concerted downregulation of multiple endoplasmic reticulum chaperones


Koppes EA, Johnson MA, Moresco JJ, Luppi P, Lewis DW, Stolz DB, Diedrich JK, Yates JR, Wek RC, Watkins SC, Gollin SM, Park HJ, Drain P, Nicholls RD.

Scientific Notation:

PLoS Genet 19(4): e1010710.

Publication Link:


Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a multisystem disorder with neurobehavioral, metabolic, and hormonal phenotypes, caused by loss of expression of a paternally-expressed imprinted gene cluster. Prior evidence from a PWS mouse model identified abnormal pancreatic islet development with retention of aged insulin and deficient insulin secretion. To determine the collective roles of PWS genes in β-cell biology, we used genome-editing to generate isogenic, clonal INS-1 insulinoma lines having 3.16 Mb deletions of the silent, maternal- (control) and active, paternal-allele (PWS). PWS β-cells demonstrated a significant cell autonomous reduction in basal and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Further, proteomic analyses revealed reduced levels of cellular and secreted hormones, including all insulin peptides and amylin, concomitant with reduction of at least ten endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperones, including GRP78 and GRP94. Critically, differentially expressed genes identified by whole transcriptome studies included reductions in levels of mRNAs encoding these secreted peptides and the group of ER chaperones. In contrast to the dosage compensation previously seen for ER chaperones in Grp78 or Grp94 gene knockouts or knockdown, compensation is precluded by the stress-independent deficiency of ER chaperones in PWS β-cells. Consistent with reduced ER chaperones levels, PWS INS-1 β-cells are more sensitive to ER stress, leading to earlier activation of all three arms of the unfolded protein response. Combined, the findings suggest that a chronic shortage of ER chaperones in PWS β-cells leads to a deficiency of protein folding and/or delay in ER transit of insulin and other cargo. In summary, our results illuminate the pathophysiological basis of pancreatic β-cell hormone deficits in PWS, with evolutionary implications for the multigenic PWS-domain, and indicate that PWS-imprinted genes coordinate concerted regulation of ER chaperone biosynthesis and β-cell secretory pathway function.

FPWR Grant:

Understanding multiple hormone secretion deficits in Prader-Willi Syndrome