Insights into β-cell biology and type 2 diabetes pathogenesis from studies of the islet transcriptome
Van De Bunt M., Morán I., Ferrer J., McCarthy MI.
© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel. Human β-cells play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Consequently, improved understanding of the molecular and cellular processes critical to the normal function of these cells, and the ways in which these processes are disturbed during disease development, is central to efforts to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Detailed exploration of the transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic composition of islet cells provides a platform for defining cellular function. The recent advent of next-generation sequencing approaches is enabling ever more complete inventories of the islet transcriptome, and these data are already providing important insights into islet biology. For example, transcriptome data have contributed to: (a) definition of transcript candidacy at T2D-associated loci; (b) identification of novel disease biomarkers; (c) characterisation of novel regulatory mechanisms (such as those involving non-coding RNAs), and (d) discovery of factors of potential relevance to β-cell reprogramming efforts.