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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Jul;71(13):2383-402. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1510-2. Epub 2013 Nov 13.

Transcriptional control of mammalian pancreas organogenesis.

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Endocrinology Unit, Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío/Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas/Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain.


The field of pancreas development has markedly expanded over the last decade, significantly advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control pancreas organogenesis. This growth has been fueled, in part, by the need to generate new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of diabetes. The creation of sophisticated genetic tools in mice has been instrumental in this progress. Genetic manipulation involving activation or inactivation of genes within specific cell types has allowed the identification of many transcription factors (TFs) that play critical roles in the organogenesis of the pancreas. Interestingly, many of these TFs act at multiple stages of pancreatic development, and adult organ function or repair. Interaction with other TFs, extrinsic signals, and epigenetic regulation are among the mechanisms by which TFs may play context-dependent roles during pancreas organogenesis. Many of the pancreatic TFs directly regulate each other and their own expression. These combinatorial interactions generate very specific gene regulatory networks that can define the different cell lineages and types in the developing pancreas. Here, we review recent progress made in understanding the role of pancreatic TFs in mouse pancreas formation. We also summarize our current knowledge of human pancreas development and discuss developmental pancreatic TFs that have been associated with human pancreatic diseases.

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