Notch signaling is known to control early pancreatic differentiation through Ngn3 repression. In later stages, downstream of Notch, the Presenilins are still required to maintain the endocrine fate allocation. Amongst their multiple targets, it remains unclear which one actually controls the maintenance of the fate of the early islets. Conditional deletions of the Notch effector RBP-J? with lineage tracing in Presenilin-deficient endocrine progenitors, demonstrated that this factor is central to the control of the fate through a non-canonical Notch mechanism. RBP-J? mice exhibit normal islet morphogenesis and function, however, a fraction of the progenitors fails to differentiate and develop into disorganized masses resembling acinar to ductal metaplasia and chronic pancreatitis. A subsequent deletion of RBP-J? in forming β-cells led to the transdifferentiation into the other endocrine cells types, indicating that this factor still mediates the maintenance of the fate within the endocrine lineage itself. These results highlight the dual importance of Notch signaling for the endocrine lineage. Even after Ngn3 expression, Notch activity is required to maintain both fate and maturation of the Ngn3 progenitors. In a subset of the cells, these alterations of Notch signaling halt their differentiation and leads to acinar to ductal metaplasia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas