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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Pancreatic beta cells secrete insulin to maintain glucose homeostasis, and beta cell failure is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. Glucose triggers insulin secretion in beta cells via oxidative mitochondrial pathways. However, it also feeds mitochondrial anaplerotic pathways, driving citrate export and cytosolic malonyl-CoA production by the acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1) enzyme. This pathway has been proposed as an alternative glucose-sensing mechanism, supported mainly by in vitro data. Here, we sought to address the role of the beta cell ACC1-coupled pathway in insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis in vivo. METHODS: Acaca, encoding ACC1 (the principal ACC isoform in islets), was deleted in beta cells of mice using the Cre/loxP system. Acaca floxed mice were crossed with Ins2cre mice (βACC1KO; life-long beta cell gene deletion) or Pdx1creER mice (tmx-βACC1KO; inducible gene deletion in adult beta cells). Beta cell function was assessed using in vivo metabolic physiology and ex vivo islet experiments. Beta cell mass was analysed using histological techniques. RESULTS: βACC1KO and tmx-βACC1KO mice were glucose intolerant and had defective insulin secretion in vivo. Isolated islet studies identified impaired insulin secretion from beta cells, independent of changes in the abundance of neutral lipids previously implicated as amplification signals. Pancreatic morphometry unexpectedly revealed reduced beta cell size in βACC1KO mice but not in tmx-βACC1KO mice, with decreased levels of proteins involved in the mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase (mTOR)-dependent protein translation pathway underpinning this effect. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Our study demonstrates that the beta cell ACC1-coupled pathway is critical for insulin secretion in vivo and ex vivo and that it is indispensable for glucose homeostasis. We further reveal a role for ACC1 in controlling beta cell growth prior to adulthood.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00125-018-4743-7

Type

Journal article

Journal

Diabetologia

Publication Date

17/10/2018

Keywords

ACC1, Beta cell, Insulin secretion, Islet, Lipid metabolism, Mouse, mTOR