Beta-arrestin-1 and -2 (barr1 and barr2, respectively) are major GPCR-associated signaling molecules that are widely expressed throughout the body. Studies with whole body barr1 and barr2 KO mice have shown that beta-arrestins play important roles in key metabolic functions. In this study, we inactivated the barr1 gene in a conditional fashion specifically in beta-cells of adult mice (beta-barr1-KO mice). In vivo studies showed that beta-barr1-KO mice exhibited a pronounced impairment in glucose tolerance and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), when mice were maintained on high-fat diet (HFD). Studies with isolated perifused pancreatic islets prepared from HFD beta-barr1-KO mice confirmed that barr1 deletion in beta-cells led to a significant decrease in GSIS. Interestingly, HFD beta-barr1-KO mice displayed pronounced reductions in beta-cell mass and the rate of beta-cell proliferation, suggesting that barr1 is required for the expansion of beta-cell mass that occurs during HFD feeding. To test whether enhanced barr1 signaling in beta-cells might ameliorate the metabolic deficits associated with the consumption of a HFD, we also generated transgenic mice over-expressing barr1 in beta-cells (RIPII-barr1 mice). These transgenic mice displayed metabolic phenotypes that were opposite to those observed with the beta-barr1-KO mice, including improved glucose tolerance and GSIS in vivo as well as increased beta-cell mass. This is the first study demonstrating that barr1 is critical for the proper function of pancreatic beta-cells and for maintaining whole body glucose homeostasis. Identification of the cellular mechanisms through which barr1 signaling promotes beta-cell function and proliferation may lead to the development of novel drugs useful for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.


L.F. Barella: None. M. Rossi: None. S. Pydi: None. S. Jain: None. L. Zhu: None. W. Chen: None. J. Wess: None.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at