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Nature Communication: How does insulin lower blood sugar?

Introduction: Diabetes is one of the most serious public health problems in the world. According to the latest data, the number of adult diabetic patients worldwide has exceeded 400 million in 2017. Now, an international collaboration led by scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute has gained an important discovery that is expected to make insulin treatment more effective by better mimicking how insulin works in the human body.


On October 24th, the result was published in the journal Nature Communications by "The signalling conformation of the insulin receptor ectodomain". The study reveals the first accurate 3D image of how insulin successfully interacts with its receptors. The receptor is a "gatekeeper" that transmits information to cells, and its interaction with insulin is critical to direct cells to lower blood glucose levels in the body. Therefore, a precise understanding of this process is expected to help design faster and more durable insulin therapies.


"Current insulin therapy is not optimal, because scientists are not well aware of what happened to insulin and cell surface receptors during the 'interaction' process. Now we are very happy to solve the 'insulin' How to trigger cells to lower blood sugar levels 'this problem.'

Specifically, in the study, scientists first carefully designed a single sample of insulin-receptor binding, and then used a cryo-electron microscope to capture hundreds of thousands of high-resolution "snapshots" of these samples. Next, they combined more than 700,000 2D images into a high-resolution 3D image that accurately shows how insulin is successfully combined with its receptor.

"This discovery means that it is now possible to design insulin therapy that is closer to the body's own insulin. In the future, pharmaceutical companies can use our data as a reference to design and optimize the body's insulin absorption therapy. Our institute is building a The cooperative network, with a view to promoting the transformation of this outcome, really benefits patients," Lawrence concluded.


Insulin discovery a game-changer for improving diabetes treatments

The signalling conformation of the insulin receptor ectodomain

Souce: NovoPro    2018-10-26