Chromomycin A2 potently inhibits glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic β cells

Michael Kalwat, In Hyun Hwang, Jocelyn Macho, Magdalena G. Grzemska, Jonathan Z. Yang, Kathleen McGlynn, John B. MacMillan, Melanie H. Cobb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhancers or inhibitors of insulin secretion could become therapeutics as well as lead to the identification of requisite β-cell regulatory pathways and increase our understanding of pancreatic islet function. Toward this goal, we previously used an insulin-linked luciferase that is co-secreted with insulin in MIN6 β-cells to perform a high-throughput natural product screen for chronic effects on glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Using multiple phenotypic analyses, we identified that one of the top natural product hits, chromomycin A2 (CMA2), potently inhibited insulin secretion through at least three mechanisms: disruption of Wnt signaling, interfering with β-cell gene expression, and suppression of triggering calcium (Ca2+) influx. Chronic treatment with CMA2 largely ablated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion even post-washout, but did not inhibit glucose-stimulated generation of ATP or Ca2+ influx. However, by using the KATP channel-opener diazoxide, we uncovered defects in depolarization-induced Ca2+ influx which may contribute to the suppressed secretory response. Glucose-responsive ERK1/2 and S6 phosphorylation were also disrupted by chronic CMA2 treatment. The FUSION bioinformatic database indicated that the phenotypic effects of CMA2 clustered with a number of Wnt/GSK3 pathway-related genes. Consistently, CMA2 decreased GSK3 phosphorylation and suppressed activation of a β-catenin activity reporter. CMA2 and a related compound mithramycin are described to have DNA-interaction properties, possibly abrogating transcription factor binding to critical β-cell gene promoters. We observed that CMA2, but not mithramycin, suppressed expression of PDX1 and UCN3. However, neither expression of INSI/II nor insulin content was affected by chronic CMA2. The mechanisms of CMA2-induced insulin secretion defects may involve components both proximal and distal to Ca2+ influx. Therefore, CMA2 is an example of a chemical that can simultaneously disrupt β-cell function through both non-cytotoxic and cytotoxic mechanisms. Future applications of CMA2 and similar aureolic acid analogs for disease therapies should consider the potential impacts on pancreatic islet function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jun 4 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Chromomycin A2 potently inhibits glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic β cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this