Type 1 (T1D) and type 2 (T2D) diabetes are triggered by a combination of environmental and/or genetic factors. Maf transcription factors regulate pancreatic beta (β)-cell function, and have also been implicated in the regulation of immunomodulatory cytokines like interferon-β (IFNβ1). In this study, we assessed MAFA and MAFB co-expression with pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling genes in RNA-seq data from human pancreatic islets. Interestingly, MAFA expression was strongly negatively correlated with cytokine-induced signaling (such as IFNAR1, DDX58) and T1D susceptibility genes (IFIH1), whereas correlation of these genes with MAFB was weaker. In order to evaluate if the loss of MafA altered the immune status of islets, MafA deficient mouse islets (MafA−/−) were assessed for inherent anti-viral response and susceptibility to enterovirus infection. MafA deficient mouse islets had elevated basal levels of Ifnβ1, Rig1 (DDX58 in humans), and Mda5 (IFIH1) which resulted in reduced virus propagation in response to coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) infection. Moreover, an acute knockdown of MafA in β-cell lines also enhanced Rig1 and Mda5 protein levels. Our results suggest that precise regulation of MAFA levels is critical for islet cell-specific cytokine production, which is a critical parameter for the inflammatory status of pancreatic islets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number644
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Medical Genetics


  • Interferon-induced genes
  • Interferons
  • Islet inflammatory microenvironment
  • Islet of Langerhans
  • MafA transcription factor


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