Rap1 promotes multiple pancreatic islet cell functions and signals through mTOR complex 1 to enhance proliferation

Kelly P, etc
J Biol Chem, 2010

Recent studies have implicated Epac2, a guanine-nucleotide exchange factor for the Rap subfamily of monomeric G proteins, as an important regulator of insulin secretion from pancreatic beta-cells. Although the Epac proteins were originally identified as cAMP-responsive activators of Rap1 GTPases, the role of Rap1 in beta-cell biology has not yet been defined. In this study, we examined the direct effects of Rap1 signaling on beta-cell biology. Using the Ins-1 rat insulinoma line, we demonstrate that activated Rap1A, but not related monomeric G proteins, promotes ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation. Using isolated rat islets, we show that this signaling event is rapamycin-sensitive, indicating that it is mediated by the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1-p70 S6 kinase pathway, a known growth regulatory pathway. This newly defined beta-cell signaling pathway acts downstream of cAMP, in parallel with the stimulation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, to drive ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation. Activated Rap1A promotes glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, islet cell hypertrophy, and islet cell proliferation, the latter exclusively through mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1, suggesting that Rap1 is an important regulator of beta-cell function. This newly defined signaling pathway may yield unique targets for the treatment of beta-cell dysfunction in diabetes.

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J Biol Chem