Mitochondrial gene expression in single cells shape pancreatic beta cells' sub-populations and explain variation in insulin pathway

H. Medini, T. Cohen, D. Mishmar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mitochondrial gene expression is pivotal to cell metabolism. Nevertheless, it is unknown whether it diverges within a given cell type. Here, we analysed single-cell RNA-seq experiments from human pancreatic alpha (N = 3471) and beta cells (N = 1989), as well as mouse beta cells (N = 1094). Cluster analysis revealed two distinct human beta cells populations, which diverged by mitochondrial (mtDNA) and nuclear DNA (nDNA)-encoded oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) gene expression in healthy and diabetic individuals, and in newborn but not in adult mice. Insulin gene expression was elevated in beta cells with higher mtDNA gene expression in humans and in young mice. Such human beta cell populations also diverged in mitochondrial RNA mutational repertoire, and in their selective signature, thus implying the existence of two previously overlooked distinct and conserved beta cell populations. While applying our approach to human alpha cells, two sub-populations of cells were identified which diverged in mtDNA gene expression, yet these cellular populations did not consistently diverge in nDNA OXPHOS genes expression, nor did they correlate with the expression of glucagon, the hallmark of alpha cells. Thus, pancreatic beta cells within an individual are divided into distinct groups with unique metabolic-mitochondrial signature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number466
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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