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04 2018 Nature communications

The beta secretase BACE1 regulates the expression of insulin receptor in the liver.


Meakin PJ, Mezzapesa A, Benabou E, Haas ME, Bonardo B, Grino M, Desbois-Mouthon C, Biddinger SB, Govers R, Ashford MLJ, Peiretti F


Insulin receptor (IR) plays a key role in the control of glucose homeostasis; however, the regulation of its cellular expression remains poorly understood. Here we show that the amount of biologically active IR is regulated by the cleavage of its ectodomain, by the β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1), in a glucose concentration-dependent manner. In vivo studies demonstrate that BACE1 regulates the amount of IR and insulin signaling in the liver. During diabetes, BACE1-dependent cleavage of IR is increased and the amount of IR in the liver is reduced, whereas infusion of a BACE1 inhibitor partially restores liver IR. We suggest the potential use of BACE1 inhibitors to enhance insulin signaling during diabetes. Additionally, we show that plasma levels of cleaved IR reflect IR isoform A expression levels in liver tumors, which prompts us to propose that the measurement of circulating cleaved IR may assist hepatic cancer detection and management.

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