The mechanisms underlying inflammation induced insulin resistance are poorly understood. Here, we report that the expression of PIMT, a transcriptional co-activator binding protein, was up-regulated in the soleus muscle of high sucrose diet (HSD) induced insulin resistant rats and TNF-α exposed cultured myoblasts. Moreover, TNF-α induced phosphorylation of PIMT at the ERK1/2 target site Ser 298. Wild type (WT) PIMT or phospho-mimic Ser298Asp mutant but not phospho-deficient Ser298Ala PIMT mutant abrogated insulin stimulated glucose uptake by L6 myotubes and neonatal rat skeletal myoblasts. Whereas, PIMT knock down relieved TNF-α inhibited insulin signaling. Mechanistic analysis revealed that PIMT differentially regulated the expression of GLUT4, MEF2A, PGC-1α and HDAC5 in cultured cells and skeletal muscle of Wistar rats. Further characterization showed that PIMT was recruited to GLUT4, MEF2A and HDAC5 promoters and overexpression of PIMT abolished the activity of WT but not MEF2A binding defective mutant GLUT4 promoter. Collectively, we conclude that PIMT mediates TNF-α induced insulin resistance at the skeletal muscle via the transcriptional modulation of GLUT4, MEF2A, PGC-1α and HDAC5 genes.
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