Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Too hungry to eat, too hungry not to eat

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Sci. Signal.  24 Feb 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 365, pp. ec45
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa9571

Pancreatic beta cells, the source of insulin in response to food, employ an unusual mechanism to adapt to nutrient depletion. Goginashvili et al. found that starvation of beta cells induced selective degradation of newly formed insulin granules through their fusion with lysosomes, the cell's garbage disposal units (see the Perspective by Rutter). The nutrient sensor mTOR is recruited to these lysosomes, leading to its local activation and the suppression of autophagy—a process by which cells “eat” their own constituents. Protein kinase D, a major regulator of insulin granule biogenesis, controls this granule degradation in response to nutrient availability. Thus, unlike most other cells, autophagy is not the strategy of choice in beta cells to adapt to starvation.

A. Goginashvili, Z. Zhang, E. Erbs, C. Spiegelhalter, P. Kessler, M. Mihlan, A. Pasquier, K. Krupina, N. Schieber, L. Cinque, J. Morvan, I. Sumara, Y. Schwab, C. Settembre, R. Ricci, Insulin secretory granules control autophagy in pancreatic β cells. Science 347, 878–882 (2015).[Abstract] [Full Text]

G. A. Rutter, Pancreas micromanages autophagy. Science 347, 826–827 (2015). [Summary] [Full Text]