Hybrid insulin genes reveal a developmental lineage for pancreatic endocrine cells and imply a relationship with neurons

Cell. 1988 Apr 22;53(2):295-308. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(88)90391-1.


Insulin appears in the developing mouse pancreas at embryonic day 12 (e12). Transgenic mice harboring three distinct hybrid genes utilizing insulin gene regulatory information first express the transgene product two days earlier, at e10, in a few cells of the pancreatic bud. Throughout development and postnatal life, all of the insulin-producing (beta) cells coexpress the hybrid insulin gene. In addition, islet cells containing glucagon, somatostatin, pancreatic polypeptide, and the neuronal enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase coexpress the transgene when they first arise. Similarly, coexpression of these normally distinct islet cell markers occurs during differentiation of the four endocrine cell types. The transgene product also appears transiently during embryogenesis in cells of the neural tube and in neural crest. The results suggest a common precursor for the endocrine cells of the pancreas. Moreover, they imply a relationship between neural and pancreatic endocrine tissue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Genes*
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Gestational Age
  • Insulin / genetics*
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology
  • Islets of Langerhans / embryology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*


  • Insulin