Retinoic acid signaling within pancreatic endocrine progenitors regulates mouse and human β cell specification

David S. Lorberbaum, Siddharth Kishore, Carolina Rosselot, Dylan Sarbaugh, Elliott P. Brooks, Eloise Aragon, Shouhong Xuan, Olivier Simon, Debashis Ghosh, Cathy Mendelsohn, Paul Gadue, Lori Sussel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Retinoic acid (RA) signaling is essential for multiple developmental processes, including appropriate pancreas formation from the foregut endoderm. RA is also required to generate pancreatic progenitors from human pluripotent stem cells. However, the role of RA signaling during endocrine specification has not been fully explored. In this study, we demonstrate that the disruption of RA signaling within the NEUROG3-expressing endocrine progenitor population impairs mouse β cell differentiation and induces ectopic expression of crucial δ cell genes, including somatostatin. In addition, the inhibition of the RA pathway in hESC-derived pancreatic progenitors downstream of NEUROG3 induction impairs insulin expression. We further determine that RA-mediated regulation of endocrine cell differentiation occurs through Wnt pathway components. Together, these data demonstrate the importance of RA signaling in endocrine specification and identify conserved mechanisms by which RA signaling directs pancreatic endocrine cell fate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev189977
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number12
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2020


  • Diabetes
  • Pancreas development
  • Retinoic acid signaling
  • Wnt signaling
  • β cell differentiation
  • δ cell specification


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