A role for PFK-2/FBPase-2, as distinct from fructose 2,6-bisphosphate, in regulation of insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells

Catherine Arden, Laura J. Hampson, Guo C. Huang, James A.M. Shaw, Ali Aldibbiat, Graham Holliman, Derek Manas, Salmaan Khan, Alex J. Lange, Loranne Agius

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32 Scopus citations


PFK-2/FBPase-2 (6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose 2,6-bis-phosphatase) catalyses the formation and degradation of fructose 2,6-P2 (fructose 2,6-bisphosphate) and is also a glucokinase-binding protein. The role of fructose 2,6-P2 in regulating glucose metabolism and insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells is unresolved. We down-regulated the endogenous isoforms of PFK-2/FBPase-2 with siRNA (small interfering RNA) and expressed KA (kinase active) and KD (kinase deficient) variants to distinguish between the role of PFK-2/FBPase-2 protein and the role of its product, fructose 2,6-P2, in regulating β-cell function. Human islets expressed the PFKFB2 (the gene encoding isoform 2 of the PFK2/FBPase2 protein) and PFKFB3 (the gene encoding isoform 3 of the PFK2/FBPase2 protein) isoforms and mouse islets expressed PFKFB2 at the mRNA level [RT-PCR (reverse transcription-PCR)]. Rat islets expressed PFKFB2 lacking the C-terminal phosphorylation sites. The glucose-responsive MIN6 and INS1E cell lines expressed PFKFB2 and PFKFB3. PFK-2 activity and the cell content of fructose 2,6-P2 were increased by elevated glucose concentration and during pharmacological activation of AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase), which also increased insulin secretion. Partial down-regulation of endogenous PFKFB2 and PFKFB3 in INS1E by siRNA decreased PFK-2/FBPase-2 protein, fructose 2,6-P2 content, glucokinase activity and glucose-induced insulin secretion. Selective down-regulation of glucose-induced fructose 2,6-P2 in the absence of down-regulation of PFK-2/FBPase-2 protein, using a KD PFK-2/FBPase-2 variant, resulted in sustained glycolysis and elevated glucose-induced insulin secretion, indicating an over-riding role of PFK-2/FBPase-2 protein, as distinct from its product fructose 2,6-P2, in potentiating glucose-induced insulin secretion. Whereas downregulation of PFK-2/FBPase-2 decreased glucokinase activity, overexpression of PFK-2/FBPase-2 only affected glucokinase distribution. It is concluded that PFK-2/FBPase-2 protein rather than its product fructose 2,6-P2 is the over-riding determinant of glucose-induced insulin secretion through regulation of glucokinase activity or subcellular targeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008


  • 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose 2,6-bisphosphatase (PFK-2/FBPase-2)
  • Fructose 2,6-bisphosphate
  • Glucokinase
  • Insulin
  • Islets
  • β-cell


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