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  • Journal article
    Johnston NR, Mitchell RK, Haythorne E, Pessoa MP, Semplici F, Ferrer J, Piemonti L, Marchetti P, Bosco D, Bugliani M, Berishvilli E, Duncanson P, Watkinson M, Broichhagen J, Trauner D, Rutter GA, Hodson DAet al., 2016,

    Beta cell hubs dictate pancreatic islet responses to glucose

    , Cell Metabolism, Vol: 24, Pages: 389-401, ISSN: 1932-7420

    The arrangement of beta cells within islets of Langerhans is critical for insulin release through thegeneration of rhythmic activity. A privileged role for individual beta cells in orchestrating theseresponses has long-been suspected, but not directly demonstrated. We show here that the beta cellpopulation in situ is operationally heterogeneous. Mapping of islet functional architecturerevealed the presence of hub cells with pacemaker properties, which remain stable over recordingperiods of 2-3 hours. Using a dual optogenetic/photopharmacological strategy, silencing of hubsabolished coordinated islet responses to glucose, whereas specific stimulation restoredcommunication patterns. Hubs were metabolically-adapted and targeted by both proinflammatoryand glucolipotoxic insults to induce widespread beta cell dysfunction. Thus, theislet is wired by hubs, whose failure may contribute to type 2 diabetes mellitus.

  • Journal article
    Lazaridis I, Nadel D, Rollefson G, Merrett DC, Rohland N, Mallick S, Fernandes D, Novak M, Gamarra B, Sirak K, Connell S, Stewardson K, Harney E, Fu Q, Gonzalez-Fortes G, Jones ER, Roodenberg SA, Lengyel G, Bocquentin F, Gasparian B, Monge JM, Gregg M, Eshed V, Mizrahi AS, Meiklejohn C, Gerritsen F, Bejenaru L, Blüher M, Campbell A, Cavalleri G, Comas D, Froguel P, Gilbert E, Kerr SM, Kovacs P, Krause J, McGettigan D, Merrigan M, Merriwether DA, O'Reilly S, Richards MB, Semino O, Shamoon-Pour M, Stefanescu G, Stumvoll M, Tönjes A, Torroni A, Wilson JF, Yengo L, Hovhannisyan NA, Patterson N, Pinhasi R, Reich Det al., 2016,

    Genomic insights into the origin of farming in the ancient Near East.

    , Nature, Vol: 536, Pages: 419-424, ISSN: 0028-0836

    We report genome-wide ancient DNA from 44 ancient Near Easterners ranging in time between ~12,000 and 1,400 BCE, from Natufian hunter-gatherers to Bronze Age farmers. We show that the earliest populations of the Near East derived around half their ancestry from a 'Basal Eurasian' lineage that had little if any Neanderthal admixture and that separated from other non-African lineages before their separation from each other. The first farmers of the southern Levant (Israel and Jordan) and Zagros Mountains (Iran) were strongly genetically differentiated, and each descended from local hunter-gatherers. By the time of the Bronze Age, these two populations and Anatolian-related farmers had mixed with each other and with the hunter-gatherers of Europe to drastically reduce genetic differentiation. The impact of the Near Eastern farmers extended beyond the Near East: farmers related to those of Anatolia spread westward into Europe; farmers related to those of the Levant spread southward into East Africa; farmers related to those from Iran spread northward into the Eurasian steppe; and people related to both the early farmers of Iran and to the pastoralists of the Eurasian steppe spread eastward into South Asia.

  • Journal article
    Frank JA, Yushchenko DA, Hodson DJ, Lipstein N, Nagpal J, Rutter GA, Rhee JS, Gottschalk A, Brose N, Schultz C, Trauner Det al., 2016,

    Photoswitchable diacylglycerols enable optical control of protein kinase C.

    , Nature Chemical Biology, Vol: 12, Pages: 755-762, ISSN: 1552-4469

    Increased levels of the second messenger lipid diacylglycerol (DAG) induce downstream signaling events including the translocation of C1-domain-containing proteins toward the plasma membrane. Here, we introduce three light-sensitive DAGs, termed PhoDAGs, which feature a photoswitchable acyl chain. The PhoDAGs are inactive in the dark and promote the translocation of proteins that feature C1 domains toward the plasma membrane upon a flash of UV-A light. This effect is quickly reversed after the termination of photostimulation or by irradiation with blue light, permitting the generation of oscillation patterns. Both protein kinase C and Munc13 can thus be put under optical control. PhoDAGs control vesicle release in excitable cells, such as mouse pancreatic islets and hippocampal neurons, and modulate synaptic transmission in Caenorhabditis elegans. As such, the PhoDAGs afford an unprecedented degree of spatiotemporal control and are broadly applicable tools to study DAG signaling.

  • Journal article
    Fuchsberger C, Flannick J, Teslovich TM, Mahajan A, Agarwala V, Gaulton KJ, Ma C, Fontanillas P, Moutsianas L, McCarthy DJ, Rivas MA, Perry JR, Sim X, Blackwell TW, Robertson NR, Rayner NW, Cingolani P, Locke AE, Tajes JF, Highland HM, Dupuis J, Chines PS, Lindgren CM, Hartl C, Jackson AU, Chen H, Huyghe JR, van de Bunt M, Pearson RD, Kumar A, Müller-Nurasyid M, Grarup N, Stringham HM, Gamazon ER, Lee J, Chen Y, Scott RA, Below JE, Chen P, Huang J, Go MJ, Stitzel ML, Pasko D, Parker SC, Varga TV, Green T, Beer NL, Day-Williams AG, Ferreira T, Fingerlin T, Horikoshi M, Hu C, Huh I, Ikram MK, Kim BJ, Kim Y, Kim YJ, Kwon MS, Lee J, Lee S, Lin KH, Maxwell TJ, Nagai Y, Wang X, Welch RP, Yoon J, Zhang W, Barzilai N, Voight BF, Han BG, Jenkinson CP, Kuulasmaa T, Kuusisto J, Manning A, Ng MC, Palmer ND, Balkau B, Stančáková A, Abboud HE, Boeing H, Giedraitis V, Prabhakaran D, Gottesman O, Scott J, Carey J, Kwan P, Grant G, Smith JD, Neale BM, Purcell S, Butterworth AS, Howson JM, Lee HM, Lu Y, Kwak SH, Zhao W, Danesh J, Lam VK, Park KS, Saleheen D, So WY, Tam CH, Afzal U, Aguilar D, Arya R, Aung T, Chan E, Navarro C, Cheng CY, Palli D, Correa A, Curran JE, Rybin D, Farook VS, Fowler SP, Freedman BI, Griswold M, Hale DE, Hicks PJ, Khor CC, Kumar S, Lehne B, Thuillier D, Lim WY, Liu J, van der Schouw YT, Loh M, Musani SK, Puppala S, Scott WR, Yengo L, Tan ST, Taylor HA, Thameem F, Wilson G, Wong TY, Njølstad PR, Levy JC, Mangino M, Bonnycastle LL, Schwarzmayr T, Fadista J, Surdulescu GL, Herder C, Groves CJ, Wieland T, Bork-Jensen J, Brandslund I, Christensen C, Koistinen HA, Doney AS, Kinnunen L, Esko T, Farmer AJ, Hakaste L, Hodgkiss D, Kravic J, Lyssenko V, Hollensted M, Jørgensen ME, Jørgensen T, Ladenvall C, Justesen JM, Käräjämäki A, Kriebel J, Rathmann W, Lannfelt L, Lauritzen T, Narisu N, Linneberg A, Melander O, Milani L, Neville M, Orho-Melander M, Qi L, Qi Q, Roden M, Rolandsson O, Swift A, Rosengren AH, Stirrups K, Wood AR, Mihailov E, Blancher C, Carneiro MO, Maget al., 2016,

    The genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes.

    , Nature, Vol: 536, Pages: 41-47, ISSN: 0028-0836

    The genetic architecture of common traits, including the number, frequency, and effect sizes of inherited variants that contribute to individual risk, has been long debated. Genome-wide association studies have identified scores of common variants associated with type 2 diabetes, but in aggregate, these explain only a fraction of the heritability of this disease. Here, to test the hypothesis that lower-frequency variants explain much of the remainder, the GoT2D and T2D-GENES consortia performed whole-genome sequencing in 2,657 European individuals with and without diabetes, and exome sequencing in 12,940 individuals from five ancestry groups. To increase statistical power, we expanded the sample size via genotyping and imputation in a further 111,548 subjects. Variants associated with type 2 diabetes after sequencing were overwhelmingly common and most fell within regions previously identified by genome-wide association studies. Comprehensive enumeration of sequence variation is necessary to identify functional alleles that provide important clues to disease pathophysiology, but large-scale sequencing does not support the idea that lower-frequency variants have a major role in predisposition to type 2 diabetes.

  • Journal article
    Yavari A, Stocker CJ, Ghaffari S, Wargent ET, Steeples V, Czibik G, Pinter K, Bellahcene M, Woods A, Martínez de Morentin PB, Cansell C, Lam BY, Chuster A, Petkevicius K, Nguyen-Tu MS, Martinez-Sanchez A, Pullen TJ, Oliver PL, Stockenhuber A, Nguyen C, Lazdam M, O'Dowd JF, Harikumar P, Tóth M, Beall C, Kyriakou T, Parnis J, Sarma D, Katritsis G, Wortmann DD, Harper AR, Brown LA, Willows R, Gandra S, Poncio V, de Oliveira Figueiredo MJ, Qi NR, Peirson SN, McCrimmon RJ, Gereben B, Tretter L, Fekete C, Redwood C, Yeo GS, Heisler LK, Rutter GA, Smith MA, Withers DJ, Carling D, Sternick EB, Arch JR, Cawthorne MA, Watkins H, Ashrafian Het al., 2016,

    Chronic Activation of γ2 AMPK Induces Obesity and Reduces β Cell Function.

    , Cell Metabolism, Vol: 23, Pages: 821-836, ISSN: 1932-7420

    Despite significant advances in our understanding of the biology determining systemic energy homeostasis, the treatment of obesity remains a medical challenge. Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has been proposed as an attractive strategy for the treatment of obesity and its complications. AMPK is a conserved, ubiquitously expressed, heterotrimeric serine/threonine kinase whose short-term activation has multiple beneficial metabolic effects. Whether these translate into long-term benefits for obesity and its complications is unknown. Here, we observe that mice with chronic AMPK activation, resulting from mutation of the AMPK γ2 subunit, exhibit ghrelin signaling-dependent hyperphagia, obesity, and impaired pancreatic islet insulin secretion. Humans bearing the homologous mutation manifest a congruent phenotype. Our studies highlight that long-term AMPK activation throughout all tissues can have adverse metabolic consequences, with implications for pharmacological strategies seeking to chronically activate AMPK systemically to treat metabolic disease.

  • Journal article
    Selman C, Sinclair A, Pedroni S, Irvine E, Michie A, Withers DJet al., 2016,

    Evidence that hematopoietic stem cell function is preserved during aging in long-lived S6K1 mutant mice

    , Oncotarget, Vol: 7, Pages: 29937-29943, ISSN: 1949-2553

    The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway plays a highly conserved role in aging; mice lacking ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1-/-) have extended lifespan and healthspan relative to wild type (WT) controls. Exactly how reduced mTOR signalling induces such effects is unclear, although preservation of stem cell function may be important. We show, using gene expression analyses, that there was a reduction in expression of cell cycle genes in young (12 week) and aged (80 week) S6K1-/- BM-derived c-Kit+ cells when compared to age-matched WT mice, suggesting that these cells are more quiescent in S6K1-/- mice. In addition, we investigated hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) frequency and function in young and aged S6K1-/- and WT mice. Young, but not aged, S6K1-/- mice had more LSK (lineage-, c-Kit+, Sca-1+) cells (% of bone marrow (BM)), including the most primitive long-term repopulating HSC (LT-HSC) relative to WT controls. Donor-derived engraftment of LT-HSCs in recipient mice was unaffected by genotype in young mice, but was enhanced in transplants using LT-HSCs derived from aged S6K1-/- mice. Our results are the first to provide evidence that age-associated HSC functional decline is ameliorated in a long-lived mTOR mutant mouse.

  • Journal article
    Arnes L, Akerman I, Balderes DA, Ferrer J, Sussel Let al., 2016,

    βlinc1 encodes a long noncoding RNA that regulates islet β-cell formation and function

    , Genes & Development, Vol: 30, Pages: 502-507, ISSN: 1549-5477

    Pancreatic β cells are responsible for maintaining glucose homeostasis; their absence or malfunction results in diabetes mellitus. Although there is evidence that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important roles in development and disease, none have been investigated in vivo in the context of pancreas development. In this study, we demonstrate that βlinc1 (β-cell long intergenic noncoding RNA 1), a conserved lncRNA, is necessary for the specification and function of insulin-producing β cells through the coordinated regulation of a number of islet-specific transcription factors located in the genomic vicinity of βlinc1. Furthermore, deletion of βlinc1 results in defective islet development and disruption of glucose homeostasis in adult mice.

  • Journal article
    Horikoshi M, Pasquali L, Wiltshire S, Huyghe JR, Mahajan A, Asimit JL, Ferreira T, Locke AE, Robertson NR, Wang X, Sim X, Fujita H, Hara K, Young R, Zhang W, Choi S, Chen H, Kaur I, Takeuchi F, Fontanillas P, Thuillier D, Yengo L, Below JE, Tam CH, Wu Y, Abecasis G, Altshuler D, Bell GI, Blangero J, Burtt NP, Duggirala R, Florez JC, Hanis CL, Seielstad M, Atzmon G, Chan JC, Ma RC, Froguel P, Wilson JG, Bharadwaj D, Dupuis J, Meigs JB, Cho YS, Park T, Kooner JS, Chambers JC, Saleheen D, Kadowaki T, Tai ES, Mohlke KL, Cox NJ, Ferrer J, Zeggini E, Kato N, Teo YY, Boehnke M, McCarthy MI, Morris APet al., 2016,

    Transancestral fine-mapping of four type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci highlights potential causal regulatory mechanisms

    , Human Molecular Genetics, Vol: 25, Pages: 2070-2081, ISSN: 1460-2083

    To gain insight into potential regulatory mechanisms through which the effects of variants at four established type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility loci (CDKAL1, CDKN2A-B, IGF2BP2 and KCNQ1) are mediated, we undertook transancestral fine-mapping in 22 086 cases and 42 539 controls of East Asian, European, South Asian, African American and Mexican American descent. Through high-density imputation and conditional analyses, we identified seven distinct association signals at these four loci, each with allelic effects on T2D susceptibility that were homogenous across ancestry groups. By leveraging differences in the structure of linkage disequilibrium between diverse populations, and increased sample size, we localised the variants most likely to drive each distinct association signal. We demonstrated that integration of these genetic fine-mapping data with genomic annotation can highlight potential causal regulatory elements in T2D-relevant tissues. These analyses provide insight into the mechanisms through which T2D association signals are mediated, and suggest future routes to understanding the biology of specific disease susceptibility loci.

  • Journal article
    Rutter GA, 2016,

    Disallowance of Acot7 in b-Cells IsRequired for Normal GlucoseTolerance and Insulin Secretion

    , Diabetes

    Acot7, encoding acyl-CoA thioesterase-7, is one of ∼60 genes expressed ubiquitously across tissues but relatively silenced, or “disallowed”, in pancreatic β-cells. The capacity of ACOT7 to hydrolyse long-chain acyl-CoA esters suggests potential roles in β-oxidation, lipid biosynthesis, signal transduction or insulin exocytosis. Here, we explored the physiological relevance of β-cell-specific Acot7 silencing by re-expressing ACOT7 in these cells. ACOT7 overexpression in clonal MIN6 and INS1(832/13) β-cells impaired insulin secretion in response to glucose plus fatty acids. Furthermore, examined in a panel of transgenic mouse lines, we demonstrate that overexpression of mitochondrial ACOT7 selectively in the adult β-cell reduced glucose tolerance dose-dependently and impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. By contrast, depolarisation-induced secretion was unaffected, arguing against a direct action on the exocytotic machinery. Acyl-CoA levels, ATP/ADP increases, membrane depolarization and Ca2+ fluxes were all markedly reduced in transgenic mouse islets, whereas glucose-induced O2-consumption was unchanged. Whilst glucose-induced increases in ATP/ADP ratio were similarly lowered after ACOT7 over-expression in INS1(832/13) cells, changes in mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ) were unaffected, consistent with an action of Acot7 to increase cellular ATP consumption. Since Acot7 mRNA levels are increased in human islets in type 2 diabetes, inhibition of the enzyme might provide a novel therapeutic strategy.

  • Journal article
    Gaulton KJ, Ferreira T, Lee Y, Raimondo A, Maegi R, Reschen ME, Mahajan A, Locke A, Rayner NW, Robertson N, Scott RA, Prokopenko I, Scott LJ, Green T, Sparso T, Thuillier D, Yengo L, Grallert H, Wahl S, Franberg M, Strawbridge RJ, Kestler H, Chheda H, Eisele L, Gustafsson S, Steinthorsdottir V, Thorleifsson G, Qi L, Karssen LC, van Leeuwen EM, Willems SM, Li M, Chen H, Fuchsberger C, Kwan P, Ma C, Linderman M, Lu Y, Thomsen SK, Rundle JK, Beer NL, van de Bunt M, Chalisey A, Kang HM, Voight BF, Abecasis GR, Almgren P, Baldassarre D, Balkau B, Benediktsson R, Blueher M, Boeing H, Bonnycastle LL, Bottinger EP, Burtt NP, Carey J, Charpentier G, Chines PS, Cornelis MC, Couper DJ, Crenshaw AT, van Dam RM, Doney ASF, Dorkhan M, Edkins S, Eriksson JG, Esko T, Eury E, Fadista J, Flannick J, Fontanillas P, Fox C, Franks PW, Gertow K, Gieger C, Gigante B, Gottesman O, Grant GB, Grarup N, Groves CJ, Hassinen M, Have CT, Herder C, Holmen OL, Hreidarsson AB, Humphries SE, Hunter DJ, Jackson AU, Jonsson A, Jorgensen ME, Jorgensen T, Kao W-HL, Kerrison ND, Kinnunen L, Klopp N, Kong A, Kovacs P, Kraft P, Kravic J, Langford C, Leander K, Liang L, Lichtner P, Lindgren CM, Lindholm E, Linneberg A, Liu C-T, Lobbens S, Luan J, Lyssenko V, Mannisto S, McLeod O, Meyer J, Mihailov E, Mirza G, Muehleisen TW, Mueller-Nurasyid M, Navarro C, Noethen MM, Oskolkov NN, Owen KR, Palli D, Pechlivanis S, Peltonen L, Perry JRB, Platou CGP, Roden M, Ruderfer D, Rybin D, van der Schouw YT, Sennblad B, Sigurdsson G, Stancakova A, Steinbach G, Storm P, Strauch K, Stringham HM, Sun Q, Thorand B, Tikkanen E, Tonjes A, Trakalo J, Tremoli E, Tuomi T, Wennauer R, Wiltshire S, Wood AR, Zeggini E, Dunham I, Birney E, Pasquali L, Ferrer J, Loos RJF, Dupuis J, Florez JC, Boerwinkle E, Pankow JS, van Duijn C, Sijbrands E, Meigs JB, Hu FB, Thorsteinsdottir U, Stefansson K, Lakka TA, Rauramaa R, Stumvoll M, Pedersen NL, Lind L, Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi SM, Korpi-Hyovalti E, Saaristo TE, Saltevo J, Kuusisto J, Laakso Met al., 2015,

    Genetic fine mapping and genomic annotation defines causal mechanisms at type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci.

    , Nature Genetics, Vol: 47, Pages: 1415-1425, ISSN: 1546-1718

    We performed fine mapping of 39 established type 2 diabetes (T2D) loci in 27,206 cases and 57,574 controls of European ancestry. We identified 49 distinct association signals at these loci, including five mapping in or near KCNQ1. 'Credible sets' of the variants most likely to drive each distinct signal mapped predominantly to noncoding sequence, implying that association with T2D is mediated through gene regulation. Credible set variants were enriched for overlap with FOXA2 chromatin immunoprecipitation binding sites in human islet and liver cells, including at MTNR1B, where fine mapping implicated rs10830963 as driving T2D association. We confirmed that the T2D risk allele for this SNP increases FOXA2-bound enhancer activity in islet- and liver-derived cells. We observed allele-specific differences in NEUROD1 binding in islet-derived cells, consistent with evidence that the T2D risk allele increases islet MTNR1B expression. Our study demonstrates how integration of genetic and genomic information can define molecular mechanisms through which variants underlying association signals exert their effects on disease.

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