Raptor regulates functional maturation of murine beta cells

Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 9;8:15755. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15755.


Diabetes is associated with beta cell mass loss and islet dysfunctions. mTORC1 regulates beta cell survival, proliferation and function in physiological and pathological conditions, such as pregnancy and pancreatectomy. Here we show that deletion of Raptor, which is an essential component of mTORC1, in insulin-expressing cells promotes hypoinsulinemia and glucose intolerance. Raptor-deficient beta cells display reduced glucose responsiveness and exhibit a glucose metabolic profile resembling fetal beta cells. Knockout islets have decreased expression of key factors of functional maturation and upregulation of neonatal markers and beta cell disallowed genes, resulting in loss of functional maturity. Mechanistically, Raptor-deficient beta cells show reduced expression of DNA-methyltransferase 3a and altered patterns of DNA methylation at loci that are involved in the repression of disallowed genes. The present findings highlight a novel role of mTORC1 as a core mechanism governing postnatal beta cell maturation and physiologic beta cell mass during adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / genetics
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / genetics
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Regulatory-Associated Protein of mTOR / genetics
  • Regulatory-Associated Protein of mTOR / metabolism*


  • Insulin
  • Regulatory-Associated Protein of mTOR
  • Rptor protein, mouse
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • DNA methyltransferase 3A
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Glucose