Insm1, Neurod1, and Pax6 promote murine pancreatic endocrine cell development through overlapping yet distinct RNA transcription and splicing programs

G3 (Bethesda). 2021 Aug 26;11(11):jkab303. doi: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab303. Online ahead of print.


Insm1, Neurod1, and Pax6 are essential for the formation and function of pancreatic endocrine cells. Here, we report comparative immunohistochemical, transcriptomic, functional enrichment, and RNA splicing analyses of these genes using gene knock-out mice. Quantitative immunohistochemical analysis confirmed that elimination of each of these three factors variably impairs the proliferation, survival, and differentiation of endocrine cells. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that each factor contributes uniquely to the transcriptome although their effects were overlapping. Functional enrichment analysis revealed that genes downregulated by the elimination of Insm1, Neurod1, and Pax6 are commonly involved in mRNA metabolism, chromatin organization, secretion, and cell cycle regulation, and upregulated genes are associated with protein degradation, autophagy, and apoptotic process. Elimination of Insm1, Neurod1, and Pax6 impaired expression of many RNA-binding proteins thereby altering RNA splicing events, including for Syt14 and Snap25, two genes required for insulin secretion. All three factors are necessary for normal splicing of Syt14, and both Insm1 and Pax6 are necessary for the processing of Snap25. Collectively, these data provide new insights into how Insm1, Neurod1, and Pax6 contribute to the formation of functional pancreatic endocrine cells.

Keywords: alternative RNA splicing; endocrine progenitor cells; gene expression; pancreas.