Pancreatic Islet-Autonomous Signals Modulate Identity Changes of Glucagon+ α-Cells
ABSTRACT: The mechanisms restricting regeneration and maintaining cell identity upon injury are poorly characterized in higher vertebrates. Upon β-cell loss, 1-2% of the glucagon-producing α-cells spontaneously engage insulin production in mice. Here we explore the mechanisms of this plasticity. We show that the adaptive α-cell identity changes are constrained by intra-islet Insulin- and Smoothened-mediated signaling, among others. Combining β-cell loss, or insulin signaling inhibition, with Smoothened inactivation in α- or δ-cells, stimulates insulin production in more α-cells. These findings suggest that removing constitutive “brake signals” is crucial for neutralizing the refractoriness to adaptive cell-fate changes. It appears that cell identity maintenance is an active process mediated by repressive signals curbing an intrinsic trend of differentiated cells to change. Overall design: RNA-Seq analyses on five purified cells namely, mature α-cells, mature β-cells, α-cells 30 days after DT, α-cells ectopically expressing PDX1 and α-cells expressing PDX1
Project description:The mechanisms that restrict regeneration and maintain cell identity following injury are poorly characterized in higher vertebrates. Following ?-cell loss, 1-2% of the glucagon-producing ?-cells spontaneously engage in insulin production in mice. Here we explore the mechanisms inhibiting ?-cell plasticity. We show that adaptive ?-cell identity changes are constrained by intra-islet insulin- and Smoothened-mediated signalling, among others. The combination of ?-cell loss or insulin-signalling inhibition, with Smoothened inactivation in ?- or ?-cells, stimulates insulin production in more ?-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.
Project description:All pancreatic endocrine cell types arise from a common endocrine precursor cell population, yet the molecular mechanisms that establish and maintain the unique gene expression programs of each endocrine cell lineage have remained largely elusive. Such knowledge would improve our ability to correctly program or reprogram cells to adopt specific endocrine fates. Here, we show that the transcription factor Nkx6.1 is both necessary and sufficient to specify insulin-producing beta cells. Heritable expression of Nkx6.1 in endocrine precursors of mice is sufficient to respecify non-beta endocrine precursors towards the beta cell lineage, while endocrine precursor- or beta cell-specific inactivation of Nkx6.1 converts beta cells to alternative endocrine lineages. Remaining insulin(+) cells in conditional Nkx6.1 mutants fail to express the beta cell transcription factors Pdx1 and MafA and ectopically express genes found in non-beta endocrine cells. By showing that Nkx6.1 binds to and represses the alpha cell determinant Arx, we identify Arx as a direct target of Nkx6.1. Moreover, we demonstrate that Nkx6.1 and the Arx activator Isl1 regulate Arx transcription antagonistically, thus establishing competition between Isl1 and Nkx6.1 as a critical mechanism for determining alpha versus beta cell identity. Our findings establish Nkx6.1 as a beta cell programming factor and demonstrate that repression of alternative lineage programs is a fundamental principle by which beta cells are specified and maintained. Given the lack of Nkx6.1 expression and aberrant activation of non-beta endocrine hormones in human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived insulin(+) cells, our study has significant implications for developing cell replacement therapies.
Project description:Our understanding of the transcription factors that control the development and function of rodent islet beta cells is advancing rapidly, yet less is known of the role they play in similar processes in human islets.To characterise the abundance and regulation of key proteins involved in glucose-regulated insulin secretion in human islets, we examined the expression of MAFA, MAFB, GLUT2 (also known as SLC2A2), ?GK (also known as GCK) and PDX1 in isolated, highly purified human islets with an intact insulin secretory pattern. We also assessed these features in islets from two different mouse strains (C57BL/6J and FVB).Compared with mouse islets, human islets secreted more insulin at baseline glucose (5.6 mmol/l), but less upon stimulation with high glucose (16.7 mmol/l) or high glucose plus 3-isobutyl-1-methyl-xanthine. Human islets had relatively more MAFB than PDX1 mRNA, while mouse islets had relatively more Pdx1 than Mafb mRNA. However, v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homologue (MAF) B protein was found in human islet alpha and beta cells. This is unusual as this regulator is only produced in islet alpha cells in adult mice. The expression of insulin, MAFA, ?GK and PDX1 was not glucose-regulated in human islets with an intact insulin secretory pattern.Our results suggest that human islets have a distinctive distribution and function of key regulators of the glucose-stimulated insulin secretion pathway, emphasising the urgent need to understand the processes that regulate human islet beta cell function.
Project description:Neonatal beta cells lack glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and are thus functionally immature. We hypothesised that this lack of glucose responsiveness results from a generalised low expression of genes characteristic of mature functional beta cells. Important glucose-responsive transcription factors, Mafa and Pdx1, regulate genes involved in insulin synthesis and secretion, and have been implicated in late beta cell development. The aim of this study was to assess whether Mafa and/or Pdx1 regulates the postnatal functional maturation of beta cells.By quantitative PCR we evaluated expression of these and other beta cell genes over the first month compared with adult. After infection with adenovirus expressing MAFA, Pdx1 or green fluorescent protein (Gfp), P2 rat islets were evaluated by RT-PCR and insulin secretion with static incubation and reverse haemolytic plaque assay (RHPA).At P2 most beta cell genes were expressed at about 10% of adult, but by P7 Pdx1 and Neurod1 no longer differ from adult; by contrast, Mafa expression remained significantly lower than adult through P21. Overexpression of Pdx1 increased Mafa, Neurod1, glucokinase (Gck) mRNA and insulin content but failed to enhance glucose responsiveness. Similar overexpression of MAFA resulted in increased Neurod1, Nkx6-1, Gck and Glp1r mRNAs and no change in insulin content but, importantly, acquisition of glucose-responsive insulin secretion. Both the percentage of secreting beta cells and the amount of insulin secreted per beta cell increased, approaching that of adult beta cells.In the process of functional maturation acquiring glucose-responsive insulin secretion, neonatal beta cells undergo a coordinated gene expression programme in which Mafa plays a crucial role.
Project description:Generation of β-pancreatic cells represents a major goal in research. The aim of this study was to explore a protein-based strategy to induce differentiation of human biliary tree stem cells (hBTSCs) towards β-pancreatic cells. A plasmid containing the sequence of the human pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1) has been expressed in E. coli. Epithelial-Cell-Adhesion-Molecule positive hBTSCs or mature human hepatocyte cell line, HepG2, were grown in medium to which Pdx1 peptide was added. Differentiation toward pancreatic islet cells were evaluated by the expression of the β-cell transcription factors, Pdx1 and musculoapo-neurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog A, and of the pancreatic hormones, insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin, investigated by real time polymerase chain reaction, western blot, light microscopy and immunofluorescence. C-peptide secretion in response to high glucose was also measured. Results indicated how purified Pdx1 protein corresponding to the primary structure of the human Pdx1 by mass spectroscopy was efficiently produced in bacteria, and transduced into hBTSCs. Pdx1 exposure triggered the expression of both intermediate and mature stage β-cell differentiation markers only in hBTSCs but not in HepG2 cell line. Furthermore, hBTSCs exposed to Pdx1 showed up-regulation of insulin, glucagon and somatostatin genes and formation of 3-dimensional islet-like structures intensely positive for insulin and glucagon. Finally, Pdx1-induced islet-like structures exhibited glucose-regulated C-peptide secretion. In conclusion, the human Pdx1 is highly effective in triggering hBTSC differentiation toward functional β-pancreatic cells.
Project description:Pancreatic endocrine cell differentiation depends on transcription factors that also contribute in adult insulin and glucagon gene expression. Islet cell development was examined in mice lacking MafB, a transcription factor expressed in immature alpha (glucagon(+)) and beta (insulin(+)) cells and capable of activating insulin and glucagon expression in vitro. We observed that MafB(-/-) embryos had reduced numbers of insulin(+) and glucagon(+) cells throughout development, whereas the total number of endocrine cells was unchanged. Moreover, production of insulin(+) cells was delayed until embryonic day (E) 13.5 in mutant mice and coincided with the onset of MafA expression, a MafB-related activator of insulin transcription. MafA expression was only detected in the insulin(+) cell population in MafB mutants, whereas many important regulatory proteins continued to be expressed in insulin(-) beta cells. However, Pdx1, Nkx6.1, and GLUT2 were selectively lost in these insulin-deficient cells between E15.5 and E18.5. MafB appears to directly regulate transcription of these genes, because binding was observed within endogenous control region sequences. These results demonstrate that MafB plays a previously uncharacterized role by regulating transcription of key factors during development that are required for the production of mature alpha and beta cells.
Project description:Pancreatic-duodenal homeobox-1 (Pdx1) and v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog A (Mafa) play important roles in sustaining the pancreatic beta-cell differentiation phenotype. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? (PPAR?) is also a regulator of cell differentiation. Our previous study revealed that glycated serum (GS) causes beta-cell dedifferentiation by down-regulating beta-cell specific genes, such as insulin and Pdx1. Here, we show that GS enhanced the cellular accumulation of ubiquitin-conjugated proteins, including Pdx1 and Mafa, in pancreatic beta-cells. Pharmacologic inhibition of proteolytic activity restored the protein levels of Pdx1 and Mafa, whereas inhibition of de novo protein synthesis accelerated their degradation. These findings suggest that both Pdx1 and Mafa are regulated at the post-transcriptional level. We further show that activation of PPAR? could restore GS-induced reduction of Pdx1 and Mafa protein levels, leading to improved insulin secretion and synthesis. Moreover, ectopic expression of Bcl-xl, a mitochondrial regulator, also restored Pdx1 and Mafa protein levels, linking mitochondrial function to Pdx1 and Mafa stability. Taken together, our results identify a key role of PPAR? in regulating pancreatic beta-cell function by improving the stability of Pdx1 and Mafa proteins.
Project description:Successful strategies for treating type 1 diabetes need to restore the function of pancreatic beta cells that are destroyed by the immune system and overcome further destruction of insulin-producing cells. Here, we infused adeno-associated virus carrying Pdx1 and MafA expression cassettes through the pancreatic duct to reprogram alpha cells into functional beta cells and normalized blood glucose in both beta cell-toxin-induced diabetic mice and in autoimmune non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. The euglycemia in toxin-induced diabetic mice and new insulin+ cells persisted in the autoimmune NOD mice for 4 months prior to reestablishment of autoimmune diabetes. This gene therapy strategy also induced alpha to beta cell conversion in toxin-treated human islets, which restored blood glucose levels in NOD/SCID mice upon transplantation. Hence, this strategy could represent a new therapeutic approach, perhaps complemented by immunosuppression, to bolster endogenous insulin production. Our study thus provides a potential basis for further investigation in human type 1 diabetes.
Project description:Pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 (Pdx1) and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) are the key regulators of beta-cell function. In vitro experiments have shown that there is significant cooperation between Pdx1 and Shh with regard to the production and maintenance of insulin-producing cells (IPCs). In this study, the combined effect of Pdx1 overexpression and Shh manipulation on the function of adipose tissue-derived IPCs was determined. A eukaryotic expression vector (Pdx1- pCDNA3.1(+)) was constructed and transfected into a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line. Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADMSCs) obtained from rats were assigned to two groups [control (C) and manipulated (M)] and differentiated into IPCs. Manipulated cells were treated with a mixture of FGF-β and cyclopamine and recombinant Shh protein at days 3 and 11, respectively, and transfected with Pdx1- pCDNA3.1(+) at day 10. The expression of multiple genes related to function of beta cells was analyzed using real-time PCR. The functionality of IPCs in vitro was analyzed through dithizone (DTZ) staining and ELISA. IPCs were injected into the tail vein of diabetic rats, and blood glucose and insulin concentrations were measured. CHO cells transfected with Pdx1- pCDNA3.1(+) showed a significantly higher expression of Pdx1 compared with nontransfected cells. Manipulated IPCs exhibited a significantly higher expression of MafA, Nkx2.2, Nkx6.1, Ngn3, insulin, and Isl1 and a higher insulin secretion in response to glucose challenge in relation to control cells. Rats that received manipulated IPCs exhibited a higher ability to normalize blood glucose and insulin secretion when compared to controls. Our protocol might be used for more efficient cell therapy of patients with diabetes in the future.
Project description:In order to define the molecular mechanisms regulating the specification and differentiation of pancreatic β-islet cells, we investigated the effect of upregulating Pdx1 and Ngn3 during the differentiation of the β-islet-like cells from murine embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived activin induced-endoderm. Induced overexpression of Pdx1 resulted in a significant upregulation of insulin (Ins1 and Ins2), and other pancreas-related genes. To enhance the developmental progression from the pancreatic bud to the formation of the endocrine lineages, we induced the overexpression express of Ngn3 together with Pdx1. This combination dramatically increased the level and timing of maximal Ins1 mRNA expression to approximately 100% of that found in the βTC6 insulinoma cell line. Insulin protein and C-peptide expression was confirmed by immunohistochemistry staining. These inductive effects were restricted to c-kit(+) endoderm enriched EB-derived populations suggesting that Pdx1/Ngn3 functions after the specification of pancreatic endoderm. Although insulin secretion was stimulated by various insulin secretagogues, these cells had only limited glucose response. Microarray analysis was used to evaluate the expression of a broad spectrum of pancreatic endocrine cell-related genes as well as genes associated with glucose responses. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the utility of manipulating Pdx1 and Ngn3 expression in a stage-specific manner as an important new strategy for the efficient generation of functionally immature insulin-producing β-islet cells from ES cells.