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J Mol Cell Biol. 2019 Feb 12. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjz004. [Epub ahead of print]

MicroRNA-24 promotes pancreatic beta cells toward dedifferentiation to avoid endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis.

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Key Laboratory of Human Functional Genomics of Jiangsu Province, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.


Current research indicates that beta cell loss in type 2 diabetes may be attributed to beta cell dedifferentiation rather than apoptosis; however, the mechanisms by which this occurs remain poorly understood. Our previous study demonstrated that elevation of microRNA-24 (miR-24) in a diabetic setting caused beta cell dysfunction and replicative deficiency. In this study, we focused on the role of miR-24 in beta cell apoptosis and dedifferentiation under endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress conditions. We found that miR-24 overabundance protected beta cells from thapsigargin (TG)-induced apoptosis at the cost of accelerating the impairment of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and enhancing the presence of dedifferentiation markers. Ingenuity® Pathway Analysis (IPA) revealed that elevation of miR-24 had an inhibitory effect on XBP1 and ATF4, which are downstream effectors of two key branches of ER stress, by inhibiting its direct target, Ire1α. Notably, elevated miR-24 initiated another pathway that targeted Mafa and decreased GSIS function in surviving beta cells, thus guiding their dedifferentiation under ER stress conditions. Our results demonstrated that the elevated miR-24, to the utmost extent, preserves beta cell mass by inhibiting apoptosis and inducing dedifferentiation. This study not only provides a novel mechanism by which miR-24 dominates beta cell turnover under persistent metabolic stress but also offers a therapeutic consideration for treating diabetes by inducing dedifferentiated beta cells to re-differentiation.


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