GLI-similar 3 (GLIS3), a member of the Krüppel-like zinc finger protein subfamily, is predominantly expressed in the pancreas, thyroid and kidney. Glis3 mRNA can be initially detected in mouse pancreas at embryonic day 11.5 and is largely restricted to β cells, pancreatic polypeptide-expressing cells, as well as ductal cells at later stage of pancreas development. Mutations in GLIS3 cause a neonatal diabetes syndrome, characterized by neonatal diabetes, congenital hypothyroidism and polycystic kidney. Importantly, genome-wide association studies showed that variations of GLIS3 are strongly associated with both type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) in multiple populations. GLIS3 cooperates with pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1), v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene family, protein A (MAFA), as well as neurogenic differentiation 1 (NEUROD1) and potently controls insulin gene transcription. GLIS3 also plays a role in β cell survival and likely in insulin secretion. Any perturbation of these functions may underlie all three forms of diabetes. GLIS3, synergistically with hepatocyte nuclear factor 6 (HNF6) and forkhead box A2 (FOXA2), controls fetal islet differentiation via transactivating neurogenin 3 (NGN3) and impairment of this function leads to neonatal diabetes. In addition, GLIS3 is also required for the compensatory β cell proliferation and mass expansion in response to insulin resistance, which if disrupted may predispose to T2D. The increasing understanding of the mechanisms of GLIS3 in β cell development, survival and function maintenance will provide new insights into disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutic target identification to combat diabetes.
Xianjie Wen and Yisheng Yang
Yisheng Yang, Stephanie Workman and Megan J Wilson
The body of knowledge surrounding reproductive development spans the fields of genetics, anatomy, physiology and biomedicine, to build a comprehensive understanding of the later stages of reproductive development in humans and animal models. Despite this, there remains much to learn about the bi-potential progenitor structure that the ovary and testis arise from, known as the genital ridge (GR). This tissue forms relatively late in embryonic development and has the potential to form either the ovary or testis, which in turn produce hormones required for the development of the rest of the reproductive tract. It is imperative that we understand the genetic networks underpinning GR development if we are to begin to understand abnormalities in the adult. This is particularly relevant in the contexts of disorders of sex development (DSDs) and infertility, two conditions that many individuals struggle with worldwide, with often no answers as to their aetiology. Here, we review what is known about the genetics of GR development. Investigating the genetic networks required for GR formation will not only contribute to our understanding of the genetic regulation of reproductive development, it may in turn open new avenues of investigation into reproductive abnormalities and later fertility issues in the adult.