A heterozygous missense mutation of the islet β cell-enriched MAFA transcription factor (p.Ser64Phe [S64F]) is found in patients with adult-onset β cell dysfunction (diabetes or insulinomatosis), with men more prone to diabetes than women. This mutation engenders increased stability to the unstable MAFA protein. Here, we develop a S64F MafA mouse model to determine how β cell function is affected and find sex-dependent phenotypes. Heterozygous mutant males (MafAS64F/+) display impaired glucose tolerance, while females are slightly hypoglycemic with improved blood glucose clearance. Only MafAS64F/+ males show transiently higher MafA protein levels preceding glucose intolerance and sex-dependent changes to genes involved in Ca2+ signaling, DNA damage, aging, and senescence. MAFAS64F production in male human β cells also accelerate cellular senescence and increase senescence-associated secretory proteins compared to cells expressing MAFAWT. These results implicate a conserved mechanism of accelerated islet aging and senescence in promoting diabetes in MAFAS64F carriers in a sex-biased manner.
Keywords: MAFA; beta cell; cellular senescence; diabetes; islet biology; sexual dimorphism.
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