The binary switch that controls the life and death decisions of ER stressed beta cells

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Gene Function and Expression; Program in Molecular Medicine



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Endoplasmic Reticulum; Unfolded Protein Response; Insulin-Secreting Cells; Diabetes Mellitus; Cell Death


Genetics and Genomics


Diabetes mellitus is a group of common metabolic disorders defined by hyperglycemia. One of the most important factors contributing to hyperglycemia is dysfunction and death of beta cells. Increasing experimental, clinical, and genetic evidence indicates that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays an important role in beta cell dysfunction and death during the progression of type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as genetic forms of diabetes such as Wolfram syndrome. The mechanisms of ER stress-mediated beta cell dysfunction and death are complex and not homogenous. Here we review the recent key findings on the role of ER stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) in beta cells and the mechanisms of ER stress-mediated beta cell dysfunction and death. Complete understanding of these mechanisms will lead to novel therapeutic modalities for diabetes.

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Citation: Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Dec 16. Link to article on publisher's site

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PubMed ID