Restored UBE2C expression in islets promotes β-cell regeneration in mice by ubiquitinating PER1.
Jiang H., Zheng S., Qian Y., Zhou Y., Dai H., Liang Y., He Y., Gao R., Lv H., Zhang J., Xia Z., Bian W., Yang T., Fu Q.
Insulin deficiency may be due to the reduced proliferation capacity of islet β-cell, contributing to the onset of diabetes. It is therefore imperative to investigate the mechanism of the β-cell regeneration in the islets. NKX6.1, one of the critical β-cell transcription factors, is a pivotal element in β-cell proliferation. The ubiquitin-binding enzyme 2C (UBE2C) was previously reported as one of the downstream molecules of NKX6.1 though the exact function and mechanism of UBE2C in β-cell remain to be elucidated. Here, we determined a subpopulation of islet β-cells highly expressing UBE2C, which proliferate actively. We also discovered that β-cell compensatory proliferation was induced by UBE2C via the cell cycle renewal pathway in weaning and high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. Moreover, the reduction of β-cell proliferation led to insulin deficiency in βUbe2cKO mice and, therefore, developed type 2 diabetes. UBE2C was found to regulate PER1 degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway via its association with a ubiquitin ligase, CUL1. PER1 inhibition rescues UBE2C knockout-induced β-cell growth inhibition both in vivo and in vitro. Notably, overexpression of UBE2C via lentiviral transduction in pancreatic islets was able to relaunch β-cell proliferation in STZ-induced diabetic mice and therefore partially alleviated hyperglycaemia and glucose intolerance. This study indicates that UBE2C positively regulates β-cell proliferation by promoting ubiquitination and degradation of the biological clock suppressor PER1. The beneficial effect of UBE2C on islet β-cell regeneration suggests a promising application in treating diabetic patients with β-cell deficiency.