A Functional Tyr1306Cys Variant in LARG Is Associated With Increased Insulin Action in Vivo

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Diminished insulin sensitivity is a characteristic feature of type 2 diabetes. Inhibition of insulin action, resulting in reduced skeletal muscle glucose uptake, is mediated in part through stimulation of RhoA activity. One regulator of RhoA activity is leukemia-associated Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (LARG). The LARG gene maps to a region on chromosome 11q23-24 that shows genetic linkage to BMI and type 2 diabetes in Pima Indians. Because of its role in RhoA activation, the LARG gene was analyzed as a positional candidate gene for this linkage. Sequencing of the LARG gene and genotyping of variants identified several polymorphisms that were associated with in vivo rates of insulin-mediated glucose uptake, at both physiological and maximally stimulating insulin concentrations, among 322 nondiabetic Pima Indians who had undergone a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. The strongest association with rate of glucose uptake was found with a Tyr1306Cys polymorphism (P < 0.0001, adjusted for age, sex, percent body fat, and nuclear family membership). In transient transfection studies in NIH3T3 cells, the LARG(Cys1306) protein had reduced activity compared with LARG(Tyr1306) protein (P < 0.05). We propose that the Tyr1306Cys substitution in LARG, through its differential activation of RhoA, increases insulin sensitivity in nondiabetic Pima Indians.

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