Biological clock protein may be tied to type 2 diabetes

A protein that regulates the biological clock in mammals may also regulate glucose production in the liver. According to scientists at the University of California, San Diego, changing the levels of this protein has been shown to improve the health of diabetic mice.

According to lead researcher Steve Kay, mice without good biological clocks tend to develop diabetes and obesity.

"This reciprocal relationship between circadian rhythm and the maintenance of a constant supply of glucose in the body had been known for some time," he added. "But what we found that's so significant is that a particular protein, cryptochrome, is actually regulating how the hormone that regulates glucose production in the liver works in a very specific way."

Cryptochrome was first discovered in plants. It was previously known as a regulatory protein that switched genes on and off.

Because evidence has shown cryptochrome to be closely tied to circadian rhythm, the scientists suggested that some cases of diabetes may have resulted from a faulty biological clock. They believe that maneuvering this mechanism may provide a viable treatment in the future.
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