Expression pattern of IAPP and prohormone convertase 1/3 reveals a distinctive set of endocrine cells in the embryonic pancreas

Mech Dev. 2002 Jul;115(1-2):171-6. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(02)00118-1.


The earliest endocrine cells in the developing pancreas make glucagon and are described as alpha cells. We show here that these cells express islet amyloid polypeptide and prohormone convertase 1/3 (PC1/3), proteins that are not expressed by mature alpha cells, but are found in beta cells. PC1/3 converts proglucagon to the functionally distinct hormones glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 and GLP-2 rather than glucagon. Despite these differences, the early proglucagon-positive cells express, as do mature alpha cells, the POU domain transcription factor Brn-4, and do not express the beta cell factor pdx-1. The early production of atypical peptide hormones by these cells suggests that they could play an important role locally or systemically in the development of the embryo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression*
  • Glucagon / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Islet Amyloid Polypeptide
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • POU Domain Factors
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / embryology
  • Pancreas / enzymology*
  • Proprotein Convertase 1*
  • Proprotein Convertases
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Amyloid
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Islet Amyloid Polypeptide
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • POU Domain Factors
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 protein
  • Pou3f4 protein, mouse
  • Glucagon
  • Proprotein Convertases
  • Pcsk1 protein, mouse
  • Proprotein Convertase 1
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases