Scientists Unravel the Mysteries of Human Pancreatic Endocrine Progenitors

The research integrates single-cell imaging and RNA sequencing datasets to study the differentiation and morphogenetic dynamics of human pancreatic endocrine progenitors. The pro-endocrine transcription factor NEUROG3 has heterogeneous peak levels, and all NEUROG3 peak levels can trigger differentiation into hormone-expressing cells. The data-mapping methodology used in the study links dynamic behaviors to transcriptomic signatures. The serine protease KLK12 is identified as a protein associated with the peak migration phase and promotes migration during NEUROG3 expression in humans. The differentiation dynamics during the initiation of endocrine commitment by NEUROG3 in human pancreas development are slower than in mice and seemingly stochastic with regards to expression levels but very reproducible in its timing across cells and conditions. The study provides a methodology that can be used to link changes in genome-wide gene expression to observable events in live imaging, enabling a comprehensive overview of a system in dynamically changing landscapes.



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