Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.)

Mitochondrial malic enzyme 3 is important for insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells.

PMID 25594249


Pancreatic β-cells with severely knocked down cytosolic malic enzyme (ME1) and mitochondrial NAD(P) malic enzyme (ME2) show normal insulin secretion. The mitochondrial NADP malic enzyme (ME3) is very low in pancreatic β-cells, and ME3 was previously thought unimportant for insulin secretion. Using short hairpin RNAs that targeted one or more malic enzyme mRNAs in the same cell, we generated more than 25 stable INS-1 832/13-derived insulin cell lines expressing extremely low levels of ME1, ME2, and ME3 alone or low levels of two of these enzymes in the same cell line. We also used double targeting of the same Me gene to achieve even more severe reduction in Me1 and Me2 mRNAs and enzyme activities than we reported previously. Knockdown of ME3, but not ME1 or ME2 alone or together, inhibited insulin release stimulated by glucose, pyruvate or 2-aminobicyclo [2,2,1]heptane-2-carboxylic acid-plus-glutamine. The data suggest that ME3, far more than ME1 or ME2, is necessary for insulin release. Because ME3 enzyme activity is low in β-cells, its role in insulin secretion may involve a function other than its ME catalytic activity.