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Calcium-dependent transcriptional changes in human pancreatic islet cells reveal functional diversity in islet cell subtypes – published online 26/05/2022

Yoon graphical abstract

Ji Soo Yoon, Shugo Sasaki, Jane Velghe, Michelle Y. Y. Lee, Helena Winata, Cuilan Nian, Francis C. Lynn

Intracellular calcium is an important secondary messenger that can rapidly couple islet cell electrical activity to gene expression changes. However, the identities of calcium-regulated genes in human islets remain largely unknown. In this issue, Yoon et al ( profile calcium-regulated genes in human islets by comparing the single-cell transcriptomes of islet cells in the presence or absence of extracellular calcium influx. The authors show that alpha, beta, delta and polyhormonal cell types express calcium-regulated genes that are specific to each cell type. The authors also demonstrate that PCDH7 mRNA is present in beta cells that express the highest number of calcium-regulated genes and that cell surface PCDH7 protein can be used to purify beta cells with enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. The authors conclude that calcium-regulated transcriptional changes can be used to retrospectively identify different human islet cell subtypes or functional states.

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