Patch-Seq Links Single-Cell Transcriptomes to Human Islet Dysfunction in Diabetes

Cell Metab. 2020 May 5;31(5):1017-1031.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.04.005. Epub 2020 Apr 16.


Impaired function of pancreatic islet cells is a major cause of metabolic dysregulation and disease in humans. Despite this, it remains challenging to directly link physiological dysfunction in islet cells to precise changes in gene expression. Here we show that single-cell RNA sequencing combined with electrophysiological measurements of exocytosis and channel activity (patch-seq) can be used to link endocrine physiology and transcriptomes at the single-cell level. We collected 1,369 patch-seq cells from the pancreata of 34 human donors with and without diabetes. An analysis of function and gene expression networks identified a gene set associated with functional heterogeneity in β cells that can be used to predict electrophysiology. We also report transcriptional programs underlying dysfunction in type 2 diabetes and extend this approach to cryopreserved cells from donors with type 1 diabetes, generating a valuable resource for understanding islet cell heterogeneity in health and disease.

Keywords: T1D; T2D; alpha cell; beta cell; cryopreservation; diabetes; islet; pancreas; patch-seq; single-cell RNA-seq.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Single-Cell Analysis*
  • Transcriptome