Department of Fundamental Neurosciences – UNIL
Role of non-coding RNAs in the control of pancreatic beta cell functions
Insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells plays a central role in the control of body metabolism. Dysfunction and/or loss of beta cells can result in the release of insufficient amounts of insulin to cover the organism needs leading to the development of different forms of diabetes mellitus. Beta cell dysfunction is thought to be linked to gene expression changes but the precise mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still insufficiently understood.
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that function as translational repressors and as major regulators of gene expression. Recent studies from different laboratories including ours provided evidence that microRNAs play an important role in the control of beta cell activities. The overall goal of the experiments carried out in our laboratory is to determine the involvement of microRNAs and other classes of non-coding RNAs in the regulation of pancreatic beta cell functions under normal conditions and to evaluate their contribution in the appearance of different forms of diabetes mellitus.
Our studies are expected to provide important information about the involvement of different classes of non-coding RNAs in beta cell physiology and to shed new light on the causes of beta cell dysfunction and failure in pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions. This knowledge will be instrumental for the design of new therapeutic strategies to prevent and treat different forms of diabetes mellitus.
- Pancreatic beta cells
- Non-coding RNAs