ZBED6 counteracts high-fat diet-induced glucose intolerance by maintaining beta cell area and reducing excess mitochondrial activation. Academic Article uri icon


  • AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: ZBED6 (zinc finger, BED-type containing 6) is known to regulate muscle mass by suppression of Igf2 gene transcription. In insulin-producing cell lines, ZBED6 maintains proliferative capacity at the expense of differentiation and beta cell function. The aim was to study the impact of Zbed6 knockout on beta cell function and glucose tolerance in C57BL/6 mice. METHODS: Beta cell area and proliferation were determined in Zbed6 knockout mice using immunohistochemical analysis. Muscle and fat distribution were assessed using micro-computed tomography. Islet gene expression was assessed by RNA sequencing. Effects of a high-fat diet were analysed by glucose tolerance and insulin tolerance tests. ZBED6 was overexpressed in EndoC-H1 cells and human islet cells using an adenoviral vector. Beta cell cell-cycle analysis, insulin release and mitochondrial function were studied in vitro using propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry, ELISA, the Seahorse technique, and the fluorescent probes JC-1 and MitoSox. RESULTS: Islets from Zbed6 knockout mice showed lowered expression of the cell cycle gene Pttg1, decreased beta cell proliferation and decreased beta cell area, which occurred independently from ZBED6 effects on Igf2 gene expression. Zbed6 knockout mice, but not wild-type mice, developed glucose intolerance when given a high-fat diet. The high-fat diet Zbed6 knockout islets displayed upregulated expression of oxidative phosphorylation genes and genes associated with beta cell differentiation. In vitro, ZBED6 overexpression resulted in increased EndoC-H1 cell proliferation and a reduced glucose-stimulated insulin release in human islets. ZBED6 also reduced mitochondrial JC-1 J-aggregate formation, mitochondrial oxygen consumption rates (OCR) and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, both at basal and palmitate + high glucose-stimulated conditions. ZBED6-induced inhibition of OCR was not rescued by IGF2 addition. ZBED6 reduced levels of the mitochondrial regulator PPAR- related coactivator 1 protein (PRC) and bound its promoter/enhancer region. Knockdown of PRC resulted in a lowered OCR. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: It is concluded that ZBED6 is required for normal beta cell replication and also limits excessive beta cell mitochondrial activation in response to an increased functional demand. ZBED6 may act, at least in part, by restricting PRC-mediated mitochondrial activation/ROS production, which may lead to protection against beta cell dysfunction and glucose intolerance in vivo.

published proceedings

  • Diabetologia

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, X., Younis, S., Cen, J., Wang, Y., Krizhanovskii, C., Andersson, L., & Welsh, N.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Xuan||Younis, Shady||Cen, Jing||Wang, Yun||Krizhanovskii, Camilla||Andersson, Leif||Welsh, Nils

publication date

  • October 2021