Profiling of Glucose-Sensing Neurons Reveals that GHRH Neurons Are Activated by Hypoglycemia.
Stanley S., Domingos AI., Kelly L., Garfield A., Damanpour S., Heisler L., Friedman J.
Comprehensive transcriptional profiling of glucose-sensing neurons is challenging because of low expression levels of glucokinase (Gck) and other key proteins that transduce a glucose signal. To overcome this, we generated and validated transgenic mice with a neuronal/endocrine-specific Gck promoter driving cre expression and mated them to mice with cre-dependent expression of an EGFP-tagged ribosomal protein construct (EEF1A1-LSL.EGFPL10) that can be used to map and profile cells. We found significant Gck expression in hypothalamic and limbic regions in cells that are activated following administration of glucose or 2-deoxyglucose. Transcriptional profiling from Gck-cre/EEF1A1-LSL.EGFPL10 mice enriched known and previously unknown glucose-sensing populations including neurons expressing growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH). Electrophysiological recordings show that hypoglycemia activates GHRH neurons, suggesting a mechanistic link between hypoglycemia and growth hormone release. These studies provide a means for mapping glucose-sensitive neurons and for generating transcriptional profiles from other cell types expressing cre in a cell-specific manner.