Elife. 2021 Aug 17;10:e65758. doi: 10.7554/eLife.65758
To investigate the role of the vasculature in pancreatic β-cell regeneration, we crossed a zebrafish β-cell ablation model into the avascular npas4l mutant (i.e. cloche). Surprisingly, β-cell regeneration increased markedly in npas4l mutants owing to the ectopic differentiation of β-cells in the mesenchyme, a phenotype not previously reported in any models. The ectopic β-cells expressed endocrine markers of pancreatic β-cells, and also responded to glucose with increased calcium influx. Through lineage tracing, we determined that the vast majority of these ectopic β-cells has a mesodermal origin. Notably, ectopic β-cells were found in npas4l mutants as well as following knockdown of the endothelial/myeloid determinant Etsrp. Together, these data indicate that under the perturbation of endothelial/myeloid specification, mesodermal cells possess a remarkable plasticity enabling them to form β-cells, which are normally endodermal in origin. Understanding the restriction of this differentiation plasticity will help exploit an alternative source for β-cell regeneration.
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