Circadian variation of the pancreatic islet transcriptome

Physiol Genomics. 2016 Sep 1;48(9):677-87. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00019.2016. Epub 2016 Aug 5.


Pancreatic islet failure is a characteristic feature of impaired glucose control in diabetes mellitus. Circadian control of islet function is essential for maintaining proper glucose homeostasis. Circadian variations in transcriptional pathways have been described in diverse cell types and shown to be critical for optimization of cellular function in vivo. In the current study, we utilized Short Time Series Expression Miner (STEM) analysis to identify diurnally expressed transcripts and biological pathways from mouse islets isolated at 4 h intervals throughout the 24 h light-dark cycle. STEM analysis identified 19 distinct chronological model profiles, and genes belonging to each profile were subsequently annotated to significantly enriched Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes biological pathways. Several transcriptional pathways essential for proper islet function (e.g., insulin secretion, oxidative phosphorylation), cell survival (e.g., insulin signaling, apoptosis) and cell proliferation (DNA replication, homologous recombination) demonstrated significant time-dependent variations. Notably, KEGG pathway analysis revealed "protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum - mmu04141" as one of the most enriched time-dependent pathways in islets. This study provides unique data set on time-dependent diurnal profiles of islet gene expression and biological pathways, and suggests that diurnal variation of the islet transcriptome is an important feature of islet homeostasis, which should be taken into consideration for optimal experimental design and interpretation of future islet studies.

Keywords: circadian; circadian rhythms; endoplasmic reticulum; islet; transcriptome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transcriptome / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose