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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38685. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038685. Epub 2012 Jun 8.

Lack of Wdr13 gene in mice leads to enhanced pancreatic beta cell proliferation, hyperinsulinemia and mild obesity.

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  • 1Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Hyderabad, India.


WD-repeat proteins are very diverse, yet these are structurally related proteins that participate in a wide range of cellular functions. WDR13, a member of this family, is conserved from fishes to humans and localizes into the nucleus. To understand the in vivo function(s) of Wdr13 gene, we have created and characterized a mutant mouse strain lacking this gene. The mutant mice had higher serum insulin levels and increased pancreatic islet mass as a result of enhanced beta cell proliferation. While a known cell cycle inhibitor, p21, was downregulated in the mutant islets, over expression of WDR13 in the pancreatic beta cell line (MIN6) resulted in upregulation of p21, accompanied by retardation of cell proliferation. We suggest that WDR13 is a novel negative regulator of the pancreatic beta cell proliferation. Given the higher insulin levels and better glucose clearance in Wdr13 gene deficient mice, we propose that this protein may be a potential candidate drug target for ameliorating impaired glucose metabolism in diabetes.

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