GSBS Student Publications


The pancreatic beta-cell transcriptome and integrated-omics

Student Author(s)

David Blodgett

GSBS Program

MS in Clinical Investigation

Publication Date


UMMS Affiliation

Diabetes Center of Excellence; Department of Medicine

Document Type



Endocrine System Diseases | Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Genetics and Genomics


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: beta Cells represent one of many cell types in heterogeneous pancreatic islets and play the central role in maintaining glucose homeostasis, such that disrupting beta-cell function leads to diabetes. This review summarizes the methods for isolating and characterizing beta cells, and describes integrated 'omics' approaches used to define the beta cell by its transcriptome and proteome.

RECENT FINDINGS: RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry-based protein identification have now identified RNA and protein profiles for mouse and human pancreatic islets and beta cells, and for beta-cell lines. Recent publications have outlined these profiles and, more importantly, have begun to assign the presence or absence of specific genes and regulatory molecules to beta-cell function and dysfunction. Overall, researchers have focused on understanding the pathophysiology of diabetes by connecting genome, transcriptome, proteome, and regulatory RNA profiles with findings from genome-wide association studies.

SUMMARY: Studies employing these relatively new techniques promise to identify specific genes or regulatory RNAs with altered expression as beta-cell function begins to deteriorate in the spiral toward the development of diabetes. The ultimate goal is to identify the potential therapeutic targets to prevent beta-cell dysfunction and thereby better treat the individual with diabetes.


DOI of Published Version



Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2014 Apr;21(2):83-8. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000051. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID