Hepatitis C virus activates the mTOR/S6K1 signaling pathway in inhibiting IRS-1 function for insulin resistance.

Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.65). 03/2012; 86(11):6315-22. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00050-12
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection significantly increases the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) plays a key role in insulin signaling, thus enabling metabolic regulation in mammalian cells. We have previously shown that HCV infection modulates phosphorylation of Akt, a downstream target of IRS-1. In this study, we further examined the status of total IRS-1 and the downstream regulation of the Akt pathway in understanding mTOR/S6K1 signaling using HCV genotype 2a (clone JFH1)-infected hepatocytes. Inhibition of IRS-1 expression was observed in HCV-infected hepatocytes compared to that in a mock-infected control. The status of the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC-1/TSC-2) was significantly decreased after HCV infection of human hepatocytes, showing a modulation of the downstream Akt pathway. Subsequent study indicated an increased level of Rheb and mTOR expression in HCV-infected hepatocytes. Interestingly, the phosphoS6K1 level was higher in HCV-infected hepatocytes, suggesting a novel mechanism for IRS-1 inhibition. Ectopic expression of TSC-1/TSC-2 significantly recovered the IRS-1 protein expression level in HCV-infected hepatocytes. Further analyses indicated that HCV core protein plays a significant role in modulating the mTOR/S6K1 signaling pathway. Proteasome inhibitor MG 132 recovered IRS-1 and TSC1/2 expression, suggesting that degradation occurred via the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. A functional consequence of IRS-1 inhibition was reflected in a decrease in GLUT4 protein expression and upregulation of the gluconeogenic enzyme PCK2 in HCV-infected hepatocytes. Together, these observations suggested that HCV infection activates the mTOR/S6K1 pathway in inhibiting IRS-1 function and perturbs glucose metabolism via downregulation of GLUT4 and upregulation of PCK2 for insulin resistance.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was recently recognized as an independent risk factor for insulin resistance (IR), the onset phase of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) negatively regulates PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, which is critical for IR development and progression of cirrhosis to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we investigate the role of PTEN in HCV-associated IR and explored the mechanisms by which HCV regulates PTEN.Methods Western blotting was used to detect the levels of insulin signaling pathway components, including insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1), phosphorylated IRS-1 (pIRS-1) at serine 307 (Ser307), both phosphorylated Akt (pAkt) and total Akt. A time-course experiment measuring activation of the insulin signaling pathway was performed to assess the effect of HCV infection on insulin sensitivity by examining the phosphorylation levels of Akt and GSK3ß, a downstream target of Akt. Huh7.5.1 cells were transduced with a lentiviral vector expressing PTEN or PTEN shRNA, and IRS-1 and pIRS-1 (Ser307) levels were determined in both HCV-infected and uninfected cells. The pc-JFH1-core plasmid was constructed to explore the underlying mechanisms by which HCV regulated PTEN and therefore IRS-1 levels.ResultsHCV infection inhibited the insulin signaling pathway by reducing the levels of IRS-1 and pAkt/Akt while increasing phosphorylation of IRS-1 Ser307. In addition, HCV infection decreased the sensitivity to insulin-induced stimulation by inhibiting Akt and GSK3ß phosphorylation. Furthermore, PTEN mRNA and protein levels were reduced upon HCV infection as well as transfection with the pc-JFH1-core plasmid. The reduction in IRS-1 level observed in HCV-infected cells was rescued to a limited extent by overexpression of PTEN, which in turn slightly reduced pIRS-1 (Ser307) level. In contrast, IRS-1 level were significantly decreased and phosphorylation of IRS-1 at Ser-307 was strongly enhanced by PTEN knockdown, suggesting that both reduction in IRS-1 level and increase in IRS-1 phosphorylation at Ser307 upon HCV infection occurred in a PTEN-dependent manner.ConclusionsHCV infection suppresses the insulin signaling pathway and promotes IR by repressing PTEN, subsequently leading to decreased levels of IRS-1 and increased levels of pIRS-1 at Ser307. The findings provide new insight on the mechanism of HCV-associated IR.
    Virology journal. 02/2015; 12(1):12.

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