Bicaudal C1 promotes pancreatic NEUROG3+ endocrine progenitor differentiation and ductal morphogenesis
In human, mutations in bicaudal C1 (BICC1), an RNA binding protein, have been identified in patients with kidney dysplasia. Deletion of Bicc1 in mouse leads to left-right asymmetry randomization and renal cysts. Here, we show that BICC1 is also expressed in both the pancreatic progenitor cells that line the ducts during development, and in the ducts after birth, but not in differentiated endocrine or acinar cells. Genetic inactivation of Bicc1 leads to ductal cell over-proliferation and cyst formation. Transcriptome comparison between WT and Bicc1 KO pancreata, before the phenotype onset, reveals that PKD2 functions downstream of BICC1 in preventing cyst formation in the pancreas. Moreover, the analysis highlights immune cell infiltration and stromal reaction developing early in the pancreas of Bicc1 knockout mice. In addition to these functions in duct morphogenesis, BICC1 regulates NEUROG3(+) endocrine progenitor production. Its deletion leads to a late but sustained endocrine progenitor decrease, resulting in a 50% reduction of endocrine cells. We show that BICC1 functions downstream of ONECUT1 in the pathway controlling both NEUROG3(+) endocrine cell production and ductal morphogenesis, and suggest a new candidate gene for syndromes associating kidney dysplasia with pancreatic disorders, including diabetes.