Structure of insulin receptor may lead to potential type 1 diabetes treatments

Scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have revealed the structure of a lesser-known component of the insulin receptor, creating the potential for new type 1 diabetes treatments.

A research team from the Structural Biology division examined the insulin receptor, a cell surface protein that binds to insulin. For decades, scientists have attempted to find the exact mechanism through which the hormone binds to its receptor, thereby regulating the usage of glucose in the human body.

“You can’t work it out unless you have a view of the site to which the insulin binds, and that’s what we’ve done,” said Mike Lawrence, the study’s lead scientist. “By understanding how insulin binds and transmits messages into the cell we will be in a better position to design compounds that mimic insulin and could be used to treat diabetes.”

In addition to characterizing the structure of the insulin receptor, the researchers are also examining the type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor. This second receptor binds insulin-like growth factors and has been connected to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

These results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.ADNFCR-3583-ID-19917311-ADNFCR
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