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Characterization of a human iPSC-derived islet differentiation model

To explore the contribution of islet development to T2D pathogenesis, we characterised the transcriptomes of 3 human iPSC lines (from independent donors) differentiated along the islet development lineage. Whole transcriptome RNA-seq was performed at 7 developmental stages: definitive endoderm, primitive gut tube, posterior foregut (PF), pancreatic endoderm, endocrine progenitors, endocrine-like cells, and beta-like cells (BLC). Differentially-expressed (ΔExp) genes were assigned to the stage in which they were most upregulated (versus baseline iPSC profile), and used to assess the enrichment of T2D GWAS genes, as well as to predict the upstream transcription factors at each developmental stage.We found 9409 ΔExp genes across all stages, including known markers of islet development (NEUROG3, INS). Genes ΔExp in the most-differentiated (BLC) stage were significantly enriched for genes within the 99% credible sets of T2D GWAS loci. Despite this enrichment in BLC only, over 70% of genes mapping within the credible sets were ΔExp before this stage, highlighting the relevance of key T2D GWAS genes in islet development: e.g. expression of TCF7L2 peaked during the PF stage (log2FC=1.2; q=8.5×10-10). REST and LMNA are also highlighted by the analyses as having a potential function in islet development, considering their pattern of expression and those of the genes they regulate. Transcriptomic signatures derived from this iPSC differentiation model highlight T2D-associated GWAS loci, monogenic diabetes genes and potential master regulators of gene networks with plausible function in islet development. All these provide clues for developmental mechanisms contributing to T2D diabetes pathology.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001003807 Illumina HiSeq 2000 24
Publications Citations
Patterns of differential gene expression in a cellular model of human islet development, and relationship to type 2 diabetes predisposition.
Diabetologia 61: 2018 1614-1622