To ensure cellular survival to ER (endoplasmic reticulum) stress, PERK [PKR (double-stranded-RNA-dependent protein kinase)-like ER kinase], an ER transmembrane kinase, is activated as part of the unfolded protein response. PERK is highly expressed in pancreatic β-cells and is essential in the β-cell's development, differentiation and function. However, chronic activation of PERK can induce cell death, and its activation has been implicated in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. This short review aims to provide an insight into our current understanding of the role of PERK in the life and death of the β-cell.

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