The GLP-1 analog exendin-4 modulates HSP72 expression and ERK1/2 activity in BTC6 mouse pancreatic cells

Dhanya Madhu, Abdelkrim Khadir, Maha Hammad, Sina Kavalakatt, Mohammed Dehbi, Fahd Al-Mulla, Jehad Abubaker, Ali Tiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Lipotoxicity, an important factor in the pathogenesis of diabetes, leads to defective β-cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogs, which are used to treat type 2 diabetes, reduce endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammation in pancreatic β-cells and improve their survival. However, their effects on the heat shock response (HSR) have not been elucidated yet. We investigated whether the GLP-1 analog exendin-4 exerts its protective effect by modulating the HSR and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in BTC-6 mouse pancreatic cells under palmitic acid (PA) stress. Expression patterns were analyzed using mass spectrometry, Western blotting, and qRT-PCR in the presence of 250 or 400 μM PA and 100 nM exendin-4. Additionally, we measured MAPK expression and phosphorylation using qRT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Upregulation of heat shock protein (HSP), notably HSP72, in the presence of PA, was attenuated by exendin-4. Despite the absence of global effects on the HSR system, exendin-4 attenuated the expression of other non-classical HSPs (GRP94, DNAJA1, and DNAJB6) in the presence of PA. Regarding MAPKs, only extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation was highly increased by exendin-4 in both the presence and absence of PA. Furthermore, exendin-4 significantly alleviated PA-induced cell death, which was further confirmed with proteomics analysis where key cellular functions, including cellular growth, assembly, and organization, were improved by exendin-4 treatment. Thus, our results expand the protective role of GLP-1 analogs to include other cellular mechanisms involved in restoring normal β-cell homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140426
Pages (from-to)140426
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Diabetes
  • Glucagon-like peptide-1
  • Heat shock protein
  • Heat shock response
  • Mitogen-activated protein kinases
  • Proteomic profiling


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