Objective: We have identified a novel protein in bone marrow–derived insulin-producing cells. Here we characterize this protein, hereby named islet homeostasis protein (IHoP), in the pancreatic islet.
Methods: Detection of IHoP mRNA and protein was performed using reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction, immunocytochemistry, and in situ hybridization. Islet homeostasis protein functions were utilizing proliferation, insulin secretion by in vitro assays, and following small interfering RNA protocols for suppression of IHoP.
Results: We found that IHoP did not homolog with known pancreatic hormones. Islet homeostasis protein expression was seen in both bone marrow–derived insulin-producing cells and isolated pancreatic islets. Immunohistochemistry on pancreatic islet revealed that IHoP localized to the glucagon-synthesizing α cells. Inhibition of IHoP by small interfering RNA resulted in the loss of glucagon expression, which induced low blood glucose levels (63–85 mg/dL). Subsequently, cellular apoptosis was observed throughout the islet, including the insulin-producing β cells. Islets of preonset diabetic patients showed normal expression of IHoP and glucagon; however, IHoP was lost upon onset of the disease.
Conclusions: These data suggest that IHoP could be a new functional protein in the islet and may play a role in islet homeostasis.
Abbreviations: IHoP - islet homeostasis protein, BM - bone marrow, MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide