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07.10.20 Specification of pancreas islet alpha- and beta-cells in the mouse

last modified Oct 07, 2020 10:26 AM
Using lineage tracing and applying quantitative analyses, Ben Simons and colleagues show how alpha- and beta-cells of the pancreas islet are generated from progenitors during mouse development
07.10.20 Specification of pancreas islet alpha- and beta-cells in the mouse

A genetic reporter used to identify cell lineages in mouse pancreatic islet

Tracing the cellular basis of islet specification in mouse pancreas

Sznurkowska MK et al. (2020) Nat Commun 11, 5037.

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18837-3


Abstract from the paper

Pancreatic islets play an essential role in regulating blood glucose level. Although the molecular pathways underlying islet cell differentiation are beginning to be resolved, the cellular basis of islet morphogenesis and fate allocation remain unclear.

By combining unbiased and targeted lineage tracing, we address the events leading to islet formation in the mouse. From the statistical analysis of clones induced at multiple embryonic timepoints, we show that, during the secondary transition, islet formation involves the aggregation of multiple equipotent endocrine progenitors that transition from a phase of stochastic amplification by cell division into a phase of sublineage restriction and limited islet fission.

Together, these results explain quantitatively the heterogeneous size distribution and degree of polyclonality of maturing islets, as well as dispersion of progenitors within and between islets.

Further, our results show that, during the secondary transition, alpha- and beta-cells are generated in a contemporary manner. Together, these findings uncover the cellular basis of islet development.



Read more about research in the Simons lab

Watch Ben Simons describe his work in this short YouTube video

Institute reopening

The Gurdon Institute reopened on Monday 15th June. Many staff will continue to work from home, and all staff may be contacted by email.

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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