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In the developing pancreas, transient Neurog3-expressing progenitors give rise to four major islet cell types: α, β, δ, and γ; when and how the Neurog3 cells choose cell fate is unknown. Using single-cell RNA-seq, trajectory analysis, and combinatorial lineage tracing, we showed here that the Neurog3 cells co-expressing Myt1 (i.e., Myt1Neurog3) were biased toward β cell fate, while those not simultaneously expressing Myt1 (Myt1Neurog3) favored α fate. Myt1 manipulation only marginally affected α versus β cell specification, suggesting Myt1 as a marker but not determinant for islet-cell-type specification. The Myt1Neurog3 cells displayed higher Dnmt1 expression and enhancer methylation at Arx, an α-fate-promoting gene. Inhibiting Dnmts in pancreatic progenitors promoted α cell specification, while Dnmt1 overexpression or Arx enhancer hypermethylation favored β cell production. Moreover, the pancreatic progenitors contained distinct Arx enhancer methylation states without transcriptionally definable sub-populations, a phenotype independent of Neurog3 activity. These data suggest that Neurog3-independent methylation on fate-determining gene enhancers specifies distinct endocrine-cell programs.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
The sustained expression of the MAFB transcription factor in human islet β-cells represents a distinct difference in mice. Moreover, mRNA expression of closely related and islet β-cell-enriched MAFA does not peak in humans until after 9 years of age. We show that the MAFA protein also is weakly produced within the juvenile human islet β-cell population and that expression is postnatally restricted in mouse β-cells by de novo DNA methylation. To gain insight into how MAFB affects human β-cells, we developed a mouse model to ectopically express in adult mouse β-cells using transcriptional control sequences. Coexpression of MafB with MafA had no overt impact on mouse β-cells, suggesting that the human adult β-cell MAFA/MAFB heterodimer is functionally equivalent to the mouse MafA homodimer. However, MafB alone was unable to rescue the islet β-cell defects in a mouse mutant lacking MafA in β-cells. Of note, transgenic production of MafB in β-cells elevated tryptophan hydroxylase 1 mRNA production during pregnancy, which drives the serotonin biosynthesis critical for adaptive maternal β-cell responses. Together, these studies provide novel insight into the role of MAFB in human islet β-cells.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.
The mechanisms that restrict regeneration and maintain cell identity following injury are poorly characterized in higher vertebrates. Following β-cell loss, 1-2% of the glucagon-producing α-cells spontaneously engage in insulin production in mice. Here we explore the mechanisms inhibiting α-cell plasticity. We show that adaptive α-cell identity changes are constrained by intra-islet insulin- and Smoothened-mediated signalling, among others. The combination of β-cell loss or insulin-signalling inhibition, with Smoothened inactivation in α- or δ-cells, stimulates insulin production in more α-cells. These findings suggest that the removal of constitutive 'brake signals' is crucial to neutralize the refractoriness to adaptive cell-fate changes. It appears that the maintenance of cell identity is an active process mediated by repressive signals, which are released by neighbouring cells and curb an intrinsic trend of differentiated cells to change.
Pancreatic β-cell expansion is a highly regulated metabolic adaptation to increased somatic demands, including obesity and pregnancy; adult β cells otherwise rarely proliferate. We previously showed that high-fat diet (HFD) feeding induces mouse β-cell proliferation in less than 1 wk in the absence of insulin resistance. Here we metabolically profiled tissues from a short-term HFD β-cell expansion mouse model to identify pathways and metabolite changes associated with β-cell proliferation. Mice fed HFD vs. chow diet (CD) showed a 14.3% increase in body weight after 7 days; β-cell proliferation increased 1.75-fold without insulin resistance. Plasma from 1-wk HFD-fed mice induced β-cell proliferation ex vivo. The plasma, as well as liver, skeletal muscle, and bone, were assessed by LC and GC mass-spectrometry for global metabolite changes. Of the 1,283 metabolites detected, 159 showed significant changes [false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.1]. The majority of changes were in liver and muscle. Pathway enrichment analysis revealed key metabolic changes in steroid synthesis and lipid metabolism, including free fatty acids and other bioactive lipids. Other important enrichments included changes in the citric acid cycle and 1-carbon metabolism pathways implicated in DNA methylation. Although the minority of changes were observed in bone and plasma (<20), increased p-cresol sulfate was increased >4 fold in plasma (the largest increase in all tissues), and pantothenate (vitamin B) decreased >2-fold. The results suggest that HFD-mediated β-cell expansion is associated with complex, global metabolite changes. The finding could be a significant insight into Type 2 diabetes pathogenesis and potential novel drug targets.
OBJECTIVE - A pilot study suggested that combination therapy with low-dose anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) and pegylated granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) preserves C-peptide in established type 1 diabetes (T1D) (duration 4 months to 2 years). We hypothesized that ) low-dose ATG/GCSF or ) low-dose ATG alone would slow the decline of β-cell function in patients with new-onset T1D (duration <100 days).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - A three-arm, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial was performed by the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Study Group in 89 subjects: 29 subjects randomized to ATG (2.5 mg/kg intravenously) followed by pegylated GCSF (6 mg subcutaneously every 2 weeks for 6 doses), 29 to ATG alone (2.5 mg/kg), and 31 to placebo. The primary end point was mean area under the curve (AUC) C-peptide during a 2-h mixed-meal tolerance test 1 year after initiation of therapy. Significance was defined as one-sided value < 0.025.
RESULTS - The 1-year mean AUC C-peptide was significantly higher in subjects treated with ATG (0.646 nmol/L) versus placebo (0.406 nmol/L) ( = 0.0003) but not in those treated with ATG/GCSF (0.528 nmol/L) versus placebo ( = 0.031). HbA was significantly reduced at 1 year in subjects treated with ATG and ATG/GCSF, = 0.002 and 0.011, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS - Low-dose ATG slowed decline of C-peptide and reduced HbA in new-onset T1D. Addition of GCSF did not enhance C-peptide preservation afforded by low-dose ATG. Future studies should be considered to determine whether low-dose ATG alone or in combination with other agents may prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.
Islet β cells from newborn mammals exhibit high basal insulin secretion and poor glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Here we show that β cells of newborns secrete more insulin than adults in response to similar intracellular Ca concentrations, suggesting differences in the Ca sensitivity of insulin secretion. Synaptotagmin 4 (Syt4), a non-Ca binding paralog of the β cell Ca sensor Syt7, increased by ∼8-fold during β cell maturation. Syt4 ablation increased basal insulin secretion and compromised GSIS. Precocious Syt4 expression repressed basal insulin secretion but also impaired islet morphogenesis and GSIS. Syt4 was localized on insulin granules and Syt4 levels inversely related to the number of readily releasable vesicles. Thus, transcriptional regulation of Syt4 affects insulin secretion; Syt4 expression is regulated in part by Myt transcription factors, which repress Syt4 transcription. Finally, human SYT4 regulated GSIS in EndoC-βH1 cells, a human β cell line. These findings reveal the role that altered Ca sensing plays in regulating β cell maturation.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Many patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) have residual β cells producing small amounts of C-peptide long after disease onset but develop an inadequate glucagon response to hypoglycemia following T1D diagnosis. The features of these residual β cells and α cells in the islet endocrine compartment are largely unknown, due to the difficulty of comprehensive investigation. By studying the T1D pancreas and isolated islets, we show that remnant β cells appeared to maintain several aspects of regulated insulin secretion. However, the function of T1D α cells was markedly reduced, and these cells had alterations in transcription factors constituting α and β cell identity. In the native pancreas and after placing the T1D islets into a non-autoimmune, normoglycemic in vivo environment, there was no evidence of α-to-β cell conversion. These results suggest an explanation for the disordered T1D counterregulatory glucagon response to hypoglycemia.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in the gene coding for the homeobox transcription factor (TF) PDX1 leads to pancreatic agenesis, whereas heterozygous mutations can cause Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young 4 (MODY4). Although the function of Pdx1 is well studied in pre-clinical models during insulin-producing β-cell development and homeostasis, it remains elusive how this TF controls human pancreas development by regulating a downstream transcriptional program. Also, comparative studies of PDX1 binding patterns in pancreatic progenitors and adult β-cells have not been conducted so far. Furthermore, many studies reported the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and T2DM, and it has been shown that islet enhancers are enriched in T2DM-associated SNPs. Whether regions, harboring T2DM-associated SNPs are PDX1 bound and active at the pancreatic progenitor stage has not been reported so far.
METHODS - In this study, we have generated a novel induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line that efficiently differentiates into human pancreatic progenitors (PPs). Furthermore, PDX1 and H3K27ac chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) was used to identify PDX1 transcriptional targets and active enhancer and promoter regions. To address potential differences in the function of PDX1 during development and adulthood, we compared PDX1 binding profiles from PPs and adult islets. Moreover, combining ChIP-seq and GWAS meta-analysis data we identified T2DM-associated SNPs in PDX1 binding sites and active chromatin regions.
RESULTS - ChIP-seq for PDX1 revealed a total of 8088 PDX1-bound regions that map to 5664 genes in iPSC-derived PPs. The PDX1 target regions include important pancreatic TFs, such as PDX1 itself, RFX6, HNF1B, and MEIS1, which were activated during the differentiation process as revealed by the active chromatin mark H3K27ac and mRNA expression profiling, suggesting that auto-regulatory feedback regulation maintains PDX1 expression and initiates a pancreatic TF program. Remarkably, we identified several PDX1 target genes that have not been reported in the literature in human so far, including RFX3, required for ciliogenesis and endocrine differentiation in mouse, and the ligand of the Notch receptor DLL1, which is important for endocrine induction and tip-trunk patterning. The comparison of PDX1 profiles from PPs and adult human islets identified sets of stage-specific target genes, associated with early pancreas development and adult β-cell function, respectively. Furthermore, we found an enrichment of T2DM-associated SNPs in active chromatin regions from iPSC-derived PPs. Two of these SNPs fall into PDX1 occupied sites that are located in the intronic regions of TCF7L2 and HNF1B. Both of these genes are key transcriptional regulators of endocrine induction and mutations in cis-regulatory regions predispose to diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS - Our data provide stage-specific target genes of PDX1 during in vitro differentiation of stem cells into pancreatic progenitors that could be useful to identify pathways and molecular targets that predispose for diabetes. In addition, we show that T2DM-associated SNPs are enriched in active chromatin regions at the pancreatic progenitor stage, suggesting that the susceptibility to T2DM might originate from imperfect execution of a β-cell developmental program.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.. All rights reserved.
The transcription factors pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 (Pdx1) and onecut1 (Oc1) are coexpressed in multipotent pancreatic progenitors (MPCs), but their expression patterns diverge in hormone-expressing cells, with Oc1 expression being extinguished in the endocrine lineage and Pdx1 being maintained at high levels in β-cells. We previously demonstrated that cooperative function of these two factors in MPCs is necessary for proper specification and differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cells. In those studies, we observed a persistent decrease in expression of the β-cell maturity factor MafA. We therefore hypothesized that Pdx1 and Oc1 cooperativity in MPCs impacts postnatal β-cell maturation and function. Here our model of Pdx1-Oc1 double heterozygosity was used to investigate the impact of haploinsufficiency for both of these factors on postnatal β-cell maturation, function, and adaptability. Examining mice at postnatal day (P) 14, we observed alterations in pancreatic insulin content in both Pdx1 heterozygotes and double heterozygotes. Gene expression analysis at this age revealed significantly decreased expression of many genes important for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (e.g., Glut2, Pcsk1/2, Abcc8) exclusively in double heterozygotes. Analysis of P14 islets revealed an increase in the number of mixed islets in double heterozygotes. We predicted that double-heterozygous β-cells would have an impaired ability to respond to stress. Indeed, we observed that β-cell proliferation fails to increase in double heterozygotes in response to either high-fat diet or placental lactogen. We thus report here the importance of cooperation between regulatory factors early in development for postnatal islet maturation and adaptability.
Cytokines present during low-grade inflammation contribute to β-cell dysfunction and diabetes. Cytokine signaling disrupts β-cell glucose-stimulated Ca influx (GSCI) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca ([Ca]) handling, leading to diminished glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). However, cytokine-mediated changes in ion channel activity that alter β-cell Ca handling remain unknown. Here we investigated the role of K currents in cytokine-mediated β-cell dysfunction. K currents, which control the termination of intracellular Ca ([Ca]) oscillations, were reduced following cytokine exposure. As a consequence, [Ca] and electrical oscillations were accelerated. Cytokine exposure also increased basal islet [Ca] and decreased GSCI. The effect of cytokines on TALK-1 K currents were also examined as TALK-1 mediates K by facilitating [Ca] release. Cytokine exposure decreased KCNK16 transcript abundance and associated TALK-1 protein expression, increasing [Ca] storage while maintaining 2 phase GSCI and GSIS. This adaptive Ca response was absent in TALK-1 KO islets, which exhibited decreased 2 phase GSCI and diminished GSIS. These findings suggest that K and TALK-1 currents play important roles in altered β-cell Ca handling and electrical activity during low-grade inflammation. These results also reveal that a cytokine-mediated reduction in TALK-1 serves an acute protective role in β-cells by facilitating increased Ca content to maintain GSIS.