Insulin secretion and Ca2+ dynamics in β-cells are regulated by PERK (EIF2AK3) in concert with calcineurin

Rong Wang, Barbara C. McGrath, Richard F. Kopp, Michael W. Roe, Xin Tang, Gong Chen, Douglas R. Cavener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Protein kinase R (PKR)-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) (EIF2AK3) is essential for normal development and function of the insulin-secreting β-cell. Although genetic ablation of PERK in β-cells results in permanent neonatal diabetes in humans and mice, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we used a newly developed and highly specific inhibitor of PERK to determine the immediate effects of acute ablation of PERK activity. We found that inhibition of PERK in human and rodent β-cells causes a rapid inhibition of secretagogue-stimulated subcellular Ca2+ signaling and insulin secretion. These dysfunctions stem from alterations in storeoperated Ca2+ entry and sarcoplasmic endoplasmic reticulum Ca 2+-ATPase activity. We also found that PERK regulates calcineurin, and pharmacological inhibition of calcineurin results in similar defects on stimulus-secretion coupling. Our findings suggest that interplay between calcineurin and PERK regulates β-cell Ca2+ signaling and insulin secretion, and that loss of this interaction may have profound implications in insulin secretion defects associated with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33824-33836
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 22 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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