The loss of functional β cell mass contributes to development and progression of type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, the molecular mechanisms differentiating islet dysfunction in T2D from nondiabetic states remain elusive. In this issue of the JCI, Son et al. applied reverse engineering to obtain the activity of gene expression regulatory proteins from single-cell RNA sequencing data of nondiabetic and T2D human islets. The authors identify unique patterns of regulatory protein activities associated with T2D. Furthermore, BACH2 emerged as a potential transcription factor that drives activation of T2D-associated regulatory proteins in human islets.
Reverse engineering of single-cell RNA sequencing data profiles regulatory protein activity in human islet cells.