Afadin and Rhoa control pancreatic endocrine mass via lumen morphogenesis

D. Berfin Azizoglu, Caitlin Braitsch, Denise K. Marciano, Ondine Cleaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Proper lumen morphogenesis during pancreas development is critical to endocrine and exocrine cell fate. Recent studies showed that a central network of lumens (termed core), but not the surrounding terminal branches (termed periphery), produces most islet endocrine cells. To date, it remains unclear howpancreatic lumens form and remodel and which aspects of lumen morphogenesis influence cell fate. Importantly, models testing the function of the central lumen network as an endocrine niche are lacking. Here, we identify mechanisms underlying lumen formation and remodeling and show that central lumen network morphogenesis impacts pancreatic endocrine mass. We show that loss of the scaffolding protein Afadin disrupts de novo lumenogenesis and lumen continuity in the tip epithelium. Codepletion of the actomyosin regulator RhoA and Afadin results in defects in the central lumens and arrests lumen remodeling. This arrest leads to prolonged perdurance of the central lumen network over developmental time and expansion of the endocrine progenitor population and, eventually, endocrine mass. Our study uncovers essential roles of Afadin and RhoA in pancreatic central lumen morphogenesis, which subsequently determines endocrine cell mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2376-2390
Number of pages15
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Actomyosin
  • Apical polarity
  • Islet
  • Progenitor niche
  • Rab GTPases
  • Vesicular trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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