Objective: WWOX, a well-established tumor suppressor, is frequently lost in cancer and plays important roles in DNA damage response and cellular metabolism. Methods: We re-analyzed several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using the Type 2 Diabetes Knowledge Portal website to uncover WWOX's association with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Using several engineered mouse models, we studied the effect of somatic WWOX loss on glucose homeostasis. Results: Several WWOX variants were found to be strongly associated with MetS disorders. In mouse models, somatic ablation of Wwox in skeletal muscle (Wwox ΔSKM ) results in weight gain, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance. Furthermore, Wwox ΔSKM mice display reduced amounts of slow-twitch fibers, decreased mitochondrial quantity and activity, and lower glucose oxidation levels. Mechanistically, we found that WWOX physically interacts with the cellular energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and that its loss is associated with impaired activation of AMPK, and with significant accumulation of the hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1α) in SKM. Conclusions: Our studies uncover an unforeseen role of the tumor suppressor WWOX in whole-body glucose homeostasis and highlight the intimate relationship between cancer progression and metabolic disorders, particularly obesity and type-2 diabetes. Subject areas: Genetics, Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes.
- Metabolic syndrome
- Tumor suppressor
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology