A cullin 4B-RING E3 ligase complex fine-tunes pancreatic δ cell paracrine interactions
Somatostatin secreted by pancreatic δ cells mediates important paracrine interactions in Langerhans islets, including maintenance of glucose metabolism through the control of reciprocal insulin and glucagon secretion. Disruption of this circuit contributes to the development of diabetes. However, the precise mechanisms that control somatostatin secretion from islets remain elusive. Here, we found that a super-complex comprising the cullin 4B-RING E3 ligase (CRL4B) and polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) epigenetically regulates somatostatin secretion in islets. Constitutive ablation of CUL4B, the core component of the CRL4B-PRC2 complex, in δ cells impaired glucose tolerance and decreased insulin secretion through enhanced somatostatin release. Moreover, mechanistic studies showed that the CRL4B-PRC2 complex, under the control of the δ cell–specific transcription factor hematopoietically expressed homeobox (HHEX), determines the levels of intracellular calcium and cAMP through histone posttranslational modifications, thereby altering expression of the Cav1.2 calcium channel and adenylyl cyclase 6 (AC6) and modulating somatostatin secretion. In response to high glucose levels or urocortin 3 (UCN3) stimulation, increased expression of cullin 4B (CUL4B) and the PRC2 subunit histone-lysine N-methyltransferase EZH2 and reciprocal decreases in Cav1.2 and AC6 expression were found to regulate somatostatin secretion. Our results reveal an epigenetic regulatory mechanism of δ cell paracrine interactions in which CRL4B-PRC2 complexes, Cav1.2, and AC6 expression fine-tune somatostatin secretion and facilitate glucose homeostasis in pancreatic islets.