Single‐cell transcriptomes reveal characteristic features of human pancreatic islet cell types


Pancreatic islets of Langerhans contain several specialized endocrine cell types, which are commonly identified by the expression of single marker genes. However, the established marker genes cannot capture the complete spectrum of cellular heterogeneity in human pancreatic islets, and existing bulk transcriptome datasets provide averages across several cell populations. To dissect the cellular composition of the human pancreatic islet and to establish transcriptomes for all major cell types, we performed single‐cell RNA sequencing on 70 cells sorted from human primary tissue. We used this dataset to validate previously described marker genes at the single‐cell level and to identify specifically expressed transcription factors for all islet cell subtypes. All data are available for browsing and download, thus establishing a useful resource of single‐cell expression profiles for endocrine cells in human pancreatic islets.


70 single human pancreatic islet cells were sequenced using the SMARTseq2 protocol, 64 of which passed quality control. The cell type of each cell was then inferred from the RNA expression profile. We provide UCSC Genome Browser tracks showing the expression profiles of all single-cells as well merged profiles for each of the identified cell types.

Version Updated on Changes
UCSC Genome Browser Track Hub v1.1 20th January 2016 Improved normalization
UCSC Genome Browser Track Hub v1.0 (publication) 21st May 2015 As published in Li et al. 2015

GEO accession number GSE73727


If you use these data , please cite:

Jin Li*, Johanna Klughammer*, Matthias Farlik*, Thomas Penz*, Andreas Spittler, Charlotte Barbieux, Ekaterine Berishvili, Christoph Bock, Stefan Kubicek. Single‐cell transcriptomes reveal characteristic features of human pancreatic islet cell types. EMBO reports, Published online 21.12.2015, doi:10.15252/embr.201540946

*Shared first authors