Human Pancreatic β-Cell G1/S Molecule Cell Cycle Atlas

  1. Andrew F. Stewart
  1. Division of Endocrinology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  1. Corresponding author: Nathalie M. Fiaschi-Taesch, nmt2{at}


Expansion of pancreatic β-cells is a key goal of diabetes research, yet induction of adult human β-cell replication has proven frustratingly difficult. In part, this reflects a lack of understanding of cell cycle control in the human β-cell. Here, we provide a comprehensive immunocytochemical “atlas” of G1/S control molecules in the human β-cell. This atlas reveals that the majority of these molecules, previously known to be present in islets, are actually present in the β-cell. More importantly, and in contrast to anticipated results, the human β-cell G1/S atlas reveals that almost all of the critical G1/S cell cycle control molecules are located in the cytoplasm of the quiescent human β-cell. Indeed, the only nuclear G1/S molecules are the cell cycle inhibitors, pRb, p57, and variably, p21: none of the cyclins or cdks necessary to drive human β-cell proliferation are present in the nuclear compartment. This observation may provide an explanation for the refractoriness of human β-cells to proliferation. Thus, in addition to known obstacles to human β-cell proliferation, restriction of G1/S molecules to the cytoplasm of the human β-cell represents an unanticipated obstacle to therapeutic human β-cell expansion.


  • Received June 9, 2012.
  • Accepted March 8, 2013.

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