Wnt4 is heterogeneously activated in maturing β-cells to control calcium signaling, metabolism and function

Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 21;13(1):6255. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33841-5.

Abstract

Diabetes is a multifactorial disorder characterized by loss or dysfunction of pancreatic β-cells. β-cells are heterogeneous, exhibiting different glucose sensing, insulin secretion and gene expression. They communicate with other endocrine cell types via paracrine signals and between β-cells via gap junctions. Here, we identify the importance of signaling between β-cells via the extracellular signal WNT4. We show heterogeneity in Wnt4 expression, most strikingly in the postnatal maturation period, Wnt4-positive cells, being more mature while Wnt4-negative cells are more proliferative. Knock-out in adult β-cells shows that WNT4 controls the activation of calcium signaling in response to a glucose challenge, as well as metabolic pathways converging to lower ATP/ADP ratios, thereby reducing insulin secretion. These results reveal that paracrine signaling between β-cells is important in addition to gap junctions in controling insulin secretion. Together with previous reports of WNT4 up-regulation in obesity our observations suggest an adaptive insulin response coordinating β-cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulins* / metabolism

Substances

  • Glucose
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Insulins
  • Adenosine Diphosphate