The Fueger Lab aims to identify and characterize molecular regulators of functional beta cell mass in vitro and extrapolate this work to the in vivo setting. Our studies bridge from isolated cells to more complex biological models, focusing on the protein mitogen-inducible gene 6, or Mig6, which is the endogenous feedback inhibitor of EGFR.
Previous studies helped define the roles of molecular brakes and accelerators of beta cell proliferation. We have validated that Mig6 blocks replication in beta cells. Of interest, we have discovered that molecular brakes such as Mig6 impair both beta cell survival and function. Thus, Mig6 can be classified as a multiregulator of functional beta cell mass.