Mechanisms of islet morphogenesis


  • During pancreas development, endocrine progenitors emerge as single cells and progressively coalesce to form mature islets. We use zebrafish as a model for examining islet morphogenesis in vivo with subcellular resolution.
  • Imaging with high spatial and temporal resolution reveals fine dynamic processes mechanism2projecting between islet cells as they cluster. Our goal is to define the process of islet assembly and identify molecular mediators.



Early beta cells extend fine filopodia towards nearby cells.


Project Team: Robin Kimmel, Nadine Alge

Featured in BPOD (Biomedical Picture of the Day):

Pancreatic Waves 

Sugar Solution 


Selected Publications:

Freudenblum, Julia; Meyer, Dirk; Kimmel, Robin A. (2022): Mitochondrial network expansion and dynamic redistribution during islet morphogenesis in zebrafish larvae. (DOI)

Freudenblum J, Meyer D and Kimmel RA (2020) Inducible Mosaic Cell Labeling Provides Insights Into Pancreatic Islet Morphogenesis. Front. Cell Dev. Biol. 8:586651. DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2020.586651

Freudenblum J, Iglesias JA, Hermann M, Walsen T, Wilfinger A, Meyer D, Kimmel RA. In vivo imaging  of  emerging  endocrine cells reveals a requirement for PI3K­-regulated motility  in  pancreatic  islet  morphogenesis. In  Development 2018 Feb 8:145(3). (DOI) Pubmed

Kimmel, R.A.; Meyer, D. (2016) Zebrafish Pancreas as a Model for Development and Disease. Methods in Cell Biology, available online 17 March 2016. doi:10.1016/bs.mcb.2016.02.009 .  Pubmed

Kimmel RA, Onder L, Wilfinger A, Ellertsdottir E, Meyer D. (2011) Requirement for Pdx1 in specification of latent endocrine progenitors in zebrafish. BMC Biol. 2011 Oct 31;9:75. Pubmed. DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-9-75

Kimmel, R., Meyer, D. (2010) Molecular regulation of pancreas development in zebrafish. Methods Cell Biol 100, 261-80. PubMedDOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384892-5.00010-4

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