Beta Cell Biology

Team Leader: Elhadji Dioum, Ph.D. Contact

The main purpose of the Islet Function group is to identify and characterize novel G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and signaling molecules that regulate pancreatic β-cell function and maintenance, processes necessary for insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis. The ultimate goal of the lab is to develop nutritional interventions that promote optimal function of pancreatic β cells predict and prevent the onset of diabetes. We will achieve this by developing molecular biology tools and cellular models of signaling pathways that regulate energy homeostasis.

Key Goals

  • Characterize molecular signaling regulated by novel G protein regulator of neurite outgrowth (Gprin), in pancreatic islets and in the brain.
  • Functional validation of novel islet GPCRs as targets involved in nutrients and metabolic sensing in the β-cells. Activation of these targets promotes pancreatic β-cell function and expansion.
  • Deliver scientific knowledge for Nestlé business innovation in personalized nutrition for pre-diabetics and patients with metabolic syndrome.
  • Taking into account molecular similarities between neurons and β-cell, expand the scope of research to neuronal signaling pathways that regulate.


Key Publications of the Group*

Kalwat MA, Huang Z, Wichaidit C, McGlynn K, Earnest S, Savoia C, Dioum EM, Schneider JW, Hutchison MR, Cobb MH. Isoxazole Alters Metabolites and Gene Expression, Decreasing Proliferation and Promoting a Neuroendocrine Phenotype in β-Cells. ACS Chem. Biol. 2016.

Dioum E.M., Osborne J.K., Goetsch S., Russell, J., Schneider, J., Cobb, M.H.W. A small molecule differentiation inducer increases insulin production by pancreatic beta cell. PNAS, Vol. 108 (51) pp. 20713–20718, 2011.

Chen R, Dioum EM, Richard T. Hogg, Gerard Robert D, and Garcia JA. Hypoxia increases Sirtuin 1 expression in a Hypoxia Inducible Factor-dependent manner. J Biol Chem M110.175414, 2011.

Klein AM, Dioum EM, Cobb MH. Exposing contingency plans for kinase networks. Cell: 143 (6) 867-869, 2010.

Dioum EM, Wausson EM, and Cobb MH. MAP-ing unconventional protein-DNA interaction. Cell 139 (3): 462-463, 2009.

Dioum E.M, Chen R., Alexander M.S., Zhang Q., Hogg R.T., Gerard R.D., and Garcia J.A. Hypoxia Inducible Factor 2 alpha (HIF-2α) signaling during hypoxia is selectively regulated by Sirtuin 1. Science, 324(5932): 1289-93, 2009.