Cell Death Differ. 2024 Feb 6. doi: 10.1038/s41418-024-01258-w. Online ahead of print.
Pancreatic β-cell failure by WFS1 deficiency is manifested in individuals with wolfram syndrome (WS). The lack of a suitable human model in WS has impeded progress in the development of new treatments. Here, human pluripotent stem cell derived pancreatic islets (SC-islets) harboring WFS1 deficiency and mouse model of β cell specific Wfs1 knockout were applied to model β-cell failure in WS. We charted a high-resolution roadmap with single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) to investigate pathogenesis for WS β-cell failure, revealing two distinct cellular fates along pseudotime trajectory: maturation and stress branches. WFS1 deficiency disrupted β-cell fate trajectory toward maturation and directed it towards stress trajectory, ultimately leading to β-cell failure. Notably, further investigation of the stress trajectory identified activated integrated stress response (ISR) as a crucial mechanism underlying WS β-cell failure, characterized by aberrant eIF2 signaling in WFS1-deficient SC-islets, along with elevated expression of genes in regulating stress granule formation. Significantly, we demonstrated that ISRIB, an ISR inhibitor, efficiently reversed β-cell failure in WFS1-deficient SC-islets. We further validated therapeutic efficacy in vivo with β-cell specific Wfs1 knockout mice. Altogether, our study provides novel insights into WS pathogenesis and offers a strategy targeting ISR to treat WS diabetes.