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A Short-activating RNA Oligonucleotide Targeting the Islet β-cell Transcriptional Factor MafA in CD34(+) Cells.

Abstract

Upon functional loss of insulin producing islet β-cells, some patients with diabetes become dependent on life-long insulin supplementation therapy. Bioengineering surrogate insulin producing cells is an alternative replacement strategy. We have developed a novel approach using short-activating RNA oligonucleotides to differentiate adult human CD34(+) cells into insulin-secreting cells. By transfecting RNA to increase transcript levels of the master regulator of insulin biosynthesis, v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog A (MafA), several pancreatic endodermal genes were upregulated during the differentiation procedure. These included Pancreatic and duodenal homeobox gene-1 (PDX1), Neurogenin 3, NeuroD, and NK6 homeobox 1 (NKx6-1). Differentiated CD34(+) cells also expressed glucokinase, glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP1R), sulfonylurea receptor-1 (SUR1) and phogrin-all essential for glucose sensitivity and insulin secretion. The differentiated cells appropriately processed C-peptide and insulin in response to increasing glucose stimulation as shown by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, western blotting, and immunofluorescence staining. We provide a new approach using short-activating RNA in developing insulin producing surrogate cells for treating diabetes.Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids (2013) 2, e97; doi:10.1038/mtna.2013.23; advance online publication 4 June 2013.

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