- We have shown that nitric oxide limits ataxia-telangiectasia mutated signaling by inhibiting mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in a β-cell selective manner. In this study, we examined the actions of nitric oxide on a second DNA damage response transducer kinase, ataxia-telangiectasia and Rad3-related protein (ATR). In β-cells and non–β-cells, nitric oxide activates ATR signaling by inhibiting ribonucleotide reductase; however, when produced at inducible nitric oxide synthase–derived (low micromolar) levels, nitric oxide impairs ATR signaling in a β-cell selective manner.
- Environmental factors, such as viral infection, are proposed to play a role in the initiation of autoimmune diabetes. In response to encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) infection, resident islet macrophages release the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β, to levels that are sufficient to stimulate inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression and production of micromolar levels of the free radical nitric oxide in neighboring β-cells. We have recently shown that nitric oxide inhibits EMCV replication and EMCV-mediated β-cell lysis and that this protection is associated with an inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative metabolism.
- Viral infection is one environmental factor that may contribute to the initiation of pancreatic β-cell destruction during the development of autoimmune diabetes. Picornaviruses, such as encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV), induce a pro-inflammatory response in islets leading to local production of cytokines, such as IL-1, by resident islet leukocytes. Furthermore, IL-1 is known to stimulate β-cell expression of iNOS and production of the free radical nitric oxide. The purpose of this study was to determine whether nitric oxide contributes to the β-cell response to viral infection.
- Oxidative stress is thought to promote pancreatic β-cell dysfunction and contribute to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, are mediators of oxidative stress that arise largely from electron leakage during oxidative phosphorylation. Reports that β-cells express low levels of antioxidant enzymes, including catalase and GSH peroxidases, have supported a model in which β-cells are ill-equipped to detoxify ROS. This hypothesis seems at odds with the essential role of β-cells in the control of metabolic homeostasis and organismal survival through exquisite coupling of oxidative phosphorylation, a prominent ROS-producing pathway, to insulin secretion.