Phosphorylation of NEUROG3 Links Endocrine Differentiation to the Cell Cycle in Pancreatic Progenitors.
Krentz NAJ., van Hoof D., Li Z., Watanabe A., Tang M., Nian C., German MS., Lynn FC.
During pancreatic development, proliferating pancreatic progenitors activate the proendocrine transcription factor neurogenin 3 (NEUROG3), exit the cell cycle, and differentiate into islet cells. The mechanisms that direct robust NEUROG3 expression within a subset of progenitor cells control the size of the endocrine population. Here we demonstrate that NEUROG3 is phosphorylated within the nucleus on serine 183, which catalyzes its hyperphosphorylation and proteosomal degradation. During progression through the progenitor cell cycle, NEUROG3 phosphorylation is driven by the actions of cyclin-dependent kinases 2 and 4/6 at G1/S cell-cycle checkpoint. Using models of mouse and human pancreas development, we show that lengthening of the G1 phase of the pancreatic progenitor cell cycle is essential for proper induction of NEUROG3 and initiation of endocrine cell differentiation. In sum, these studies demonstrate that progenitor cell-cycle G1 lengthening, through its actions on stabilization of NEUROG3, is an essential variable in normal endocrine cell genesis.