Revisiting the immunocytochemical detection of Neurogenin 3 expression in mouse and man

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2016 Sep;18 Suppl 1:10-22. doi: 10.1111/dom.12718.


During embryonic development, endocrine cells of the pancreas are specified from multipotent progenitors. The transcription factor Neurogenin 3 (NEUROG3) is critical for this development and it has been shown that all endocrine cells of the pancreas arise from endocrine progenitors expressing NEUROG3. A thorough understanding of the role of NEUROG3 during development, directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells and in models of cellular reprogramming, will guide future efforts directed at finding novel sources of β-cells for cell replacement therapies. In this article, we review the expression and function of NEUROG3 in both mouse and human and present the further characterization of a monoclonal antibody directed against NEUROG3. This antibody has been previously been used for detection of both mouse and human NEUROG3. However, our results suggest that the epitope recognized by this antibody is specific to mouse NEUROG3. Thus, we have also generated a monoclonal antibody specifically recognizing human NEUROG3 and present the characterization of this antibody here. Together, these antibodies will provide useful tools for future studies of NEUROG3 expression, and the data presented in this article suggest that recently described expression patterns of NEUROG3 in human foetal and adult pancreas should be re-examined.

Keywords: Neurogenin 3; antibodies; diabetes; endocrine progenitors; pancreas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Glucagon-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Glucagon-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Pancreatic Polypeptide-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Pancreatic Polypeptide-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Somatostatin-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Somatostatin-Secreting Cells / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • NEUROG3 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurog3 protein, mouse