Bioluminescent reporter assay for monitoring ER stress in human beta cells

Maria J L Kracht, Eelco J P de Koning, Rob C Hoeben, Bart O Roep, Arnaud Zaldumbide

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


During type 1 diabetes development, cells in the islets of Langerhans engage adaptive mechanisms in response to inflammatory signals to cope with stress, to restore cellular homeostasis, and to preserve cell function. Disruption of these mechanisms may induce the formation of a repertoire of stress-induced neoantigens, which are critical in the loss of tolerance to beta cells and the development of autoimmunity. While multiple lines of evidence argue for a critical role of the endoplasmic reticulum in these processes, the lack of tools to specifically monitor beta cell stress hampers the development of therapeutic interventions focusing on maintaining endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis. Here we designed and evaluated a stress-induced reporter in which induction of stress correlates with increased light emission. This Gaussia luciferase-based reporter system employs the unconventional cytoplasmic splicing of XBP1 to report ER stress in cells exposed to known ER-stress inducers. Linking this reporter to a human beta cell-specific promotor allows tracing ER-stress in isolated human beta cells as well as in the EndoC-βH1 cell line. This reporter system represents a valuable tool to assess ER stress in human beta cells and may aid the identification of novel therapeutics that can prevent beta cell stress in human pancreatic islets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17738
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2018


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