Type 1 diabetes (T1D) has a multifactorial autoimmune etiology, involving environmental prompts and polygenic predisposition. We hypothesized that pancreata from individuals with and at risk for T1D would exhibit dysregulated expression of genes associated with monogenic forms of diabetes caused by nonredundant single-gene mutations. Using a “monogenetic transcriptomic strategy,” we measured the expression of these genes in human T1D, autoantibody-positive (autoantibody+), and control pancreas tissues with real-time quantitative PCR in accordance with the Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (MIQE) guidelines. Gene and protein expression was visualized in situ with use of immunofluorescence, RNAscope, and confocal microscopy. Two dozen monogenic diabetes genes showed altered expression in human pancreata from individuals with T1D versus unaffected control subjects. Six of these genes also saw dysregulation in pancreata from autoantibody+ individuals at increased risk for T1D. As a subset of these genes are related to cellular stress responses, we measured integrated stress response (ISR) genes and identified 20 with altered expression in T1D pancreata, including three of the four eIF2α-dependent kinases. Equally intriguing, we observed significant repression of the three arms of the ISR in autoantibody+ pancreata. Collectively, these efforts suggest monogenic diabetes and ISR genes are dysregulated early in the T1D disease process and likely contribute to the disorder’s pathogenesis.
H.S.N. and C.H.W. are co–senior authors.
This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.14612202.