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Sex-biased islet β cell dysfunction is caused by the MODY MAFA S64F variant by inducing premature aging and senescence in males

By Emily M Walker, Jeeyeon Cha, Xin Tong, Min Guo, Jin-Hua Liu, Sophia Yu, Donato Iacovazzo, Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, Sarah E Flanagan, Márta Korbonits, John Stafford, David Jacobson, Roland Stein

Posted 29 Jun 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.29.177527

A heterozygous missense mutation producing a variant of the islet {beta}-cell-enriched MAFA transcription factor (Ser(S)64Phe(F) MAFA) was identified in humans who developed adult-onset, {beta}-cell dysfunction (diabetes or insulinomatosis), with men more prone to diabetes. This mutation engenders increased stability to the normally unstable MAFA protein. To obtain insight into how this variant impacts {beta} cell function, we developed a mouse model expressing S64F MafA and found sex-dependent phenotypes, with heterozygous mutant males displaying impaired glucose tolerance while females were slightly hypoglycemic with improved blood glucose clearance. Only heterozygous males showed transiently higher MafA protein levels preceding the onset of glucose intolerance and sex-dependent, differential expression of genes involved in calcium signaling, DNA damage, aging, and senescence. Functional changes in islet calcium handling and signs of islet aging and senescence processes were uniquely observed in male animals. In addition, S64F MAFA expression in human, male EndoC-{beta}H2 {beta} cells accelerated cellular senescence and increased production of senescence-associated secretory proteins compared to cells expressing wild-type MAFA. Together, these results implicate a conserved mechanism of accelerated islet aging and senescence in promoting diabetes in S64F MAFA carriers in a sex-dependent manner.

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