Emerging evidence supports the hypothesis that the skeleton is also an endocrine organ that regulates energy metabolism through the release of the osteoblast-derived hormone, osteocalcin (Ocn). This novel hypothesis is controversial, because important gaps remain to be filled in our knowledge of the physiological effects of Ocn in multiple organs and the complex alterations in other hormonal networks induced by Ocn administration. Key steps toward understanding the integrative regulation of energy metabolism by bone would be to identify and characterize the function of the receptor for Ocn. We have discovered a prime candidate for the OcnR, GPRC6A, an amino-acid sensing GPCR that is highly expressed in ?-cells and is activated by recombinant Ocn in vitro and in vivo. Global ablation of GPRC6A to create OcnR-/- mice results in a phenotype that resembles Ocn-/- mice, including glucose intolerance, reductions in circulating insulin levels, and insulin resistance. Pancreatic islets isolated from OcnR-/- mice exhibit abnormalities of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and pancreatic islet hypoplasia, suggesting that the OcnR also regulates insulin secretion and ?-cell mass. Thus, we propose to test the hypotheses that [a] this GPCR is the biologically relevant OcnR and [b] it defines a molecular mechanism for linking bone metabolism with metabolic regulation of insulin secretion and ?-cell proliferation. In addition, OcnR is also activated by L-arginine and testosterone, and recombinant Ocn regulates testosterone production by the testes, as well as metabolic functions of liver, muscle and fat, suggesting that OcnR may be a multi-liganded receptor connecting multiple endocrine networks.
The Specific Aims are to: 1) Test the specific functions of OcnR in pancreatic ?-cells by tissue-specific loss-of-function experiments in transgenic mouse models and in isolated pancreatic islets ex vivo;2) Confirm that OcnR mediates the direct effects of recombinant Ocn in pancreatic ?-cells;and 3) Determine the binding kinetics of carboxylated and undercarboxylated forms of Ocn for OcnR. Collectively these studies will define the functions of OcnR to integrate physiological networks linking bone, Ocn and other potential ligands to ?-cell functions and provide knowledge that will help to simplify the complex interdependency between the endocrine functions of bone and hormones secreted by other organs that affect bone and energy metabolism.

Public Health Relevance

Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality that places a substantial economic and health burden on the public. Our work has discovered new regulatory networks and pathways whereby different organs coordinate metabolic functions involved in glucose and energy metabolism, involving the bone derived hormone Ocn, its receptor GPRC6A (OcnR), and other nutrient ligands, that regulate insulin secretion, ?-cell mass and insulin sensitivity. The results of our planned loss-of- function studies of OcnR in transgenic mouse models and pancreatic islets ex vivo will establish the direct role of GPRC6A in mediating the effects of Ocn as well as other ligands on the function of pancreatic ?-cells and other tissues, and in doing so, will define the biologically relevant receptor for Ocn, identify ne mechanisms for regulating ?-cell functions and possibly uncover new ways to stimulate insulin secretion, prevent ?-cell decompensation and enhance insulin sensitivity through a common receptor.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
1R01DK095812-01A1
Application #
8500840
Study Section
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology Study Section (MCE)
Program Officer
Appel, Michael C
Project Start
2013-04-01
Project End
2017-03-31
Budget Start
2013-04-01
Budget End
2014-03-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$345,000
Indirect Cost
$115,000
Name
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Department
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
941884009
City
Memphis
State
TN
Country
United States
Zip Code
38163