Published on July 29, 2019 in Nat Metab volume 1(8).
PubMed ID: 31867565
The regulation of islet cell biology is critical for glucose homeostasis. -methyladenosine (mA) is the most abundant internal messenger RNA (mRNA) modification in mammals. Here we report that the mA landscape segregates human type 2 diabetes (T2D) islets from controls significantly better than the transcriptome and that mA is vital for β-cell biology. mA-sequencing in human T2D islets reveals several hypomethylated transcripts involved in cell-cycle progression, insulin secretion, and the Insulin/IGF1-AKT-PDX1 pathway. Depletion of mA levels in EndoC-βH1 induces cell-cycle arrest and impairs insulin secretion by decreasing AKT phosphorylation and PDX1 protein levels. β-cell specific Mettl14 knock-out mice, which display reduced mA levels, mimic the islet phenotype in human T2D with early diabetes onset and mortality due to decreased β-cell proliferation and insulin degranulation. Our data underscore the significance of RNA methylation in regulating human β-cell biology, and provide a rationale for potential therapeutic targeting of mA modulators to preserve β-cell survival and function in diabetes.