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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of tyrosine kinase signaling for beta-cell replication and survival.

Diabetes mellitus is commonly considered as a disease of a scant beta-cell mass that fails to respond adequately to the functional demand. Tyrosine kinases may play a role for beta-cell replication, differentiation (neoformation) and survival. Transfection of beta-cells with DNA constructs coding for tyrosine kinase receptors yields a ligand-dependent increase of DNA synthesis in beta-cells. A PCR-based technique was adopted to assess the repertoire of tyrosine kinases expressed in fetal islet-like structures, adult islets or RINm5F cells. Several tyrosine kinase receptors, such as the VEGFR-2 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2) and c-Kit, were found to be present in pancreatic duct cells. Because ducts are thought to harbor beta-cell precursor cells, these receptors may play a role for the neoformation of beta-cells. The Src-like tyrosine kinase mouse Gtk (previously named Bsk/Iyk) is expressed in islet cells, and was found to inhibit cell proliferation. Furthermore, it conferred decreased viability in response to cytokine exposure. Shb is a Src homology 2 domain adaptor protein which participates in tyrosine kinase signaling. Transgenic mice overexpressing Shb in beta-cells exhibit an increase in the neonatal beta-cell mass, an improved glucose homeostasis, but also decreased survival in response to cytokines and streptozotocin. It is concluded that tyrosine kinase signaling may generate multiple responses in beta-cells, involving proliferation, survival and differentiation.[1]


  1. Role of tyrosine kinase signaling for beta-cell replication and survival. Welsh, M., Annerén, C., Lindholm, C., Kriz, V., Oberg-Welsh, C. Ups. J. Med. Sci. (2000) [Pubmed]
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