Biliverdin Reductase-A integrates insulin signaling with mitochondrial metabolism through phosphorylation of GSK3β

Chiara Lanzillotta, Antonella Tramutola, Simona Lanzillotta, Viviana Greco, Sara Pagnotta, Caterina Sanchini, Silvia Di Angelantonio, Elena Forte, Serena Rinaldo, Alessio Paone, Francesca Cutruzzolà, Flavia Agata Cimini, Ilaria Barchetta, Maria Gisella Cavallo, Andrea Urbani, D. Allan Butterfield, Fabio Di Domenico, Bindu D. Paul, Marzia Perluigi, Joao M.N. DuarteEugenio Barone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain insulin resistance links the failure of energy metabolism with cognitive decline in both type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2D) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), although the molecular changes preceding overt brain insulin resistance remain unexplored. Abnormal biliverdin reductase-A (BVR-A) levels were observed in both T2D and AD and were associated with insulin resistance. Here, we demonstrate that reduced BVR-A levels alter insulin signaling and mitochondrial bioenergetics in the brain. Loss of BVR-A leads to IRS1 hyper-activation but dysregulates Akt-GSK3β complex in response to insulin, hindering the accumulation of pGSK3βS9 into the mitochondria. This event impairs oxidative phosphorylation and fosters the activation of the mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response (UPRmt). Remarkably, we unveil that BVR-A is required to shuttle pGSK3βS9 into the mitochondria. Our data sheds light on the intricate interplay between insulin signaling and mitochondrial metabolism in the brain unraveling potential targets for mitigating the development of brain insulin resistance and neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103221
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors


  • Biliverdin reductase-A
  • Brain insulin resistance
  • GSK3β
  • Mitochondrial metabolism
  • Mitochondrial unfolded protein response
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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