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MP Coba, MC Munoz, FP Dominici, JE Toblli, C Pena, A Bartke, and D Turyn

Serine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor (IR) has been proposed to exert an inhibitory influence on its tyrosine kinase activity. Previous works using site-directed mutagenesis suggested that serine 994 of the IR (IR Ser 994) might be part of an inhibitory domain of the receptor. In this study we examined whether this residue is subjected to phosphorylation in vivo. We used a site-phosphospecific antibody to determine the extent of phosphorylation of IR Ser 994 in insulin target tissues from two animal models of insulin resistance with different IR kinase (IRK) activity: obese (fa/fa) Zucker rats and transgenic mice overexpressing bovine growth hormone (PEPCK-bGH mice).Phosphorylation at IR Ser 994 was markedly increased in liver of obese rats. This alteration appeared to be tissue-selective since no phosphorylation on Ser 994 was detected in IRs isolated from skeletal muscle of these animals. On the other hand, the phosphorylation level of IR Ser 994 was very low in liver of PEPCK-bGH mice and did not differ from that of the control group. We have also demonstrated that protein kinase (PK) C isoforms alpha, betaI and zeta are able to promote the in vitro phosphorylation of the IR on Ser 994. Differential findings in these two models of insulin resistance might thus reflect increased PKC activity resulting from increased lipid availability in obese Zucker rats. Our results suggest that Ser 994 is a novel in vivo IR phosphorylation site that might be involved in the regulation of the IRK in some states of insulin resistance.

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E Y Faraoni, A I Abeledo Machado, P A Pérez, C A Marcial López, M A Camilletti, M Peña-Zanoni, S B Rulli, S Gutiérrez, and G Díaz-Torga

Among all the hormone-secreting pituitary tumours, prolactinomas are the most frequently found in the clinic. Since dopamine is the primary inhibitor of lactotroph function, dopamine agonists represent the first-line therapy. However, a subset of patients exhibits resistance to these drugs, and therefore, alternative treatments are desired. As activins inhibit prolactin gene expression through the inhibition of Pit-1 involving the p38MAPK pathway, in the present work, we studied the local activin system as an alternative inhibitory system for lactotroph hyperplasia treatment. We used two different mouse models of prolactinoma: transgenic mice with overexpression of the human chorionic gonadotropin β-subunit (hCGβ) and mice lacking dopamine receptor type 2. In both models, females, but not males, develop lactotroph hyperplasia from the fourth month of life. We found reduced expression of pituitary activin subunits and activin receptors in hyperplastic pituitaries from both models compared with wild-type counterparts. Consequently, hyperplastic pituitaries presented a reduced activin-inhibitory action on prolactin secretion. Additionally, while female wild-type lactotrophs presented high levels of phospho-p38MAPK, it was lost in prolactinomas, concomitant with decreased activin expression, increased Pit-1 expression and tumour development. In contrast, male pituitaries express higher mRNA levels of activin subunits βA and βB, which would suggest a stronger activin inhibitory function on lactotrophs, protecting this sex from tumour development, despite genotype. The present results highlight the importance of the activin inhibitory action on lactotroph function and place the local activin system as a new target for the treatment of dopamine agonist-resistant prolactinomas.