The Lin28/let-7 axis regulates glucose metabolism

Hao Zhu, Shyh Chang Ng, Ayellet V. Segr, Gen Shinoda, Samar P. Shah, William S. Einhorn, Ayumu Takeuchi, Jesse M. Engreitz, John P. Hagan, Michael G. Kharas, Achia Urbach, James E. Thornton, Robinson Triboulet, Richard I. Gregory, David Altshuler, George Q. Daley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

715 Scopus citations


The let-7 tumor suppressor microRNAs are known for their regulation of oncogenes, while the RNA-binding proteins Lin28a/b promote malignancy by inhibiting let-7 biogenesis. We have uncovered unexpected roles for the Lin28/let-7 pathway in regulating metabolism. When overexpressed in mice, both Lin28a and LIN28B promote an insulin-sensitized state that resists high-fat-diet induced diabetes. Conversely, muscle-specific loss of Lin28a or overexpression of let-7 results in insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. These phenomena occur, in part, through the let-7-mediated repression of multiple components of the insulin-PI3K-mTOR pathway, including IGF1R, INSR, and IRS2. In addition, the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, abrogates Lin28a-mediated insulin sensitivity and enhanced glucose uptake. Moreover, let-7 targets are enriched for genes containing SNPs associated with type 2 diabetes and control of fasting glucose in human genome-wide association studies. These data establish the Lin28/let-7 pathway as a central regulator of mammalian glucose metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 30 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Lin28/let-7 axis regulates glucose metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this