Pseudogene-mediated posttranscriptional silencing of HMGA1 can result in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

Eusebio Chiefari, Stefania Iiritano, Francesco Paonessa, Ilaria Le Pera, Biagio Arcidiacono, Mirella Filocamo, Daniela Foti, Stephen A. Liebhaber, Antonio Brunetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Processed pseudogenes are non-functional copies of normal genes that arise by a process of mRNA retrotransposition. The human genome contains thousands of pseudogenes; however, knowledge regarding their biological role is limited. Previously, we demonstrated that high mobility group A1 (HMGA1) protein regulates the insulin receptor (INSR) gene and that two diabetic patients demonstrated a marked destabilization of HMGA1 mRNA. In this paper we report that this destabilization of HMGA1 mRNA is triggered by enhanced expression of RNA from an HMGA1 pseudogene, HMGA1-p. Targeted knockdown of HMGA1-p mRNA in patient cells results in a reciprocal increase in HMGA1 mRNA stability and expression levels with a parallel correction in cell-surface INSR expression and insulin binding. These data provide evidence for a regulatory role of an expressed pseudogene in humans and establishes a novel mechanistic linkage between pseudogene HMGA1-p expression and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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