The beta cell whisperer gene

Diabetes, which affects millions of people worldwide, develops when the body either generates insufficient amounts of the hormone insulin — a hormone that maintains healthy blood sugar — or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. When the number of beta cells is too low or they aren’t functioning properly, there isn’t enough insulin getting released. Beta cells communicate with each other to secrete insulin in a coordinated manner. Scientists now show that the gene Wnt4 in beta cells enables them to sense glucose and release the hormone insulin that enables other cells in the body to store glucose. These insights could help to create replacement beta cells for diabetes therapy in the future.