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Diabetes. 2008 Oct;57(10):2755-61. doi: 10.2337/db07-1126. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

Mouse pancreatic endocrine cell transcriptome defined in the embryonic Ngn3-null mouse.

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  • 1Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado, USA.



To document the transcriptome of the pancreatic islet during the early and late development of the mouse pancreas and highlight the qualitative and quantitative features of gene expression that contribute to the specification, growth, and differentiation of the major endocrine cell types. A further objective was to identify endocrine cell biomarkers, targets of diabetic autoimmunity, and regulatory pathways underlying islet responses to physiological and pathological stimuli.


mRNA expression profiling was performed by microarray analysis of e12.5-18.5 embryonic pancreas from neurogenin 3 (Ngn3)-null mice, a background that abrogates endocrine pancreatic differentiation. The intersection of this data with mRNA expression in isolated adult pancreatic islets and pancreatic endocrine tumor cell lines was determined to compile lists of genes that are specifically expressed in endocrine cells.


The data provided insight into the transcriptional and morphogenetic factors that may play major roles in patterning and differentiation of the endocrine lineage before and during the secondary transition of endocrine development, as well as genes that control the glucose responsiveness of the beta-cells and candidate diabetes autoantigens, such as insulin, IA-2 and Slc30a8 (ZnT8). The results are presented as downloadable gene lists, available at, stratified by predictive scores of relative cell-type specificity.


The deposited data provide a rich resource that can be used to address diverse questions related to islet developmental and cell biology and the pathogenesis of type 1 and 2 diabetes.

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