Scientific reports

Late-stage differentiation of embryonic pancreatic β-cells requires Jarid2.

PMID 28912479


Jarid2 is a component of the Polycomb Repressor complex 2 (PRC2), which is responsible for genome-wide H3K27me3 deposition, in embryonic stem cells. However, Jarid2 has also been shown to exert pleiotropic PRC2-independent actions during embryogenesis. Here, we have investigated the role of Jarid2 during pancreas development. Conditional ablation of Jarid2 in pancreatic progenitors results in reduced endocrine cell area at birth due to impaired endocrine cell differentiation and reduced prenatal proliferation. Inactivation of Jarid2 in endocrine progenitors demonstrates that Jarid2 functions after endocrine specification. Furthermore, genome-wide expression analysis reveals that Jarid2 is required for the complete activation of the insulin-producing β-cell differentiation program. Jarid2-deficient pancreases exhibit impaired deposition of RNAPII-Ser5P, the initiating form of RNAPII, but no changes in H3K27me3, at the promoters of affected endocrine genes. Thus, our study identifies Jarid2 as a fine-tuner of gene expression during late stages of pancreatic endocrine cell development. These findings are relevant for generation of transplantable stem cell-derived β-cells.