Transient FOXO1 inhibition in pancreatic endoderm promotes the generation of NGN3+ endocrine precursors from human iPSCs

Stem Cell Res. 2020 Apr;44:101754. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2020.101754. Epub 2020 Mar 6.


In the multi-step differentiation protocol used to generate pancreatic endocrine cells from human pluripotent stem cells, the induction of NGN3+ endocrine precursors from the PDX1+/NKX6.1+ pancreatic endoderm is crucial for efficient endocrine cell production. Here, we demonstrate that transient, not prolonged FOXO1 inhibition results in enhanced NGN3+ endocrine precursors and hormone-producing cell production. FOXO1 inhibition does not directly induce NGN3 expression but stimulates PDX1+/NKX6.1+ cell proliferation. NOTCH activity, whose suppression is important for Ngn3 expression, is not suppressed but Wnt signaling is stimulated by FOXO1 inhibition. Reversely, Wnt inhibition suppresses the effects of FOXO1 inhibitor. These findings indicate that FOXO1 and Wnt are involved in regulating the proliferation of PDX1+/NKX6.1+ pancreatic endoderm that gives rise to NGN3+ endocrine precursors.

Keywords: FOXO1; Induced pluripotent stem cell; NGN3; Pancreatic endocrine cells; Wnt.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Endoderm*
  • Forkhead Box Protein O1* / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells*
  • Pancreas
  • Trans-Activators
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • FOXO1 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein O1
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Trans-Activators