September 6, 2012

The Anchoring Proteins in Type 2 Diabetes


According to a new study, anchoring proteins are found to influence glucose metabolism and insulin release. The study is published in the EMBO Journal. EMBO was founded in 1964 by a group of pioneering molecular biologists.

A-kinase anchor proteins (AKAPs) are a group of proteins which influence glucose levels in the body. The AKAPs influence blood sugar by coordinating the spatial positioning of naturally occurring enzymes that counteract the effects of kinase enzymes.

The researchers hope that the function of AKAPs in the pathology of diabetes and other metabolic diseases may help catalyze the development of new treatments. A lead researcher commented “new drugs that interfere with the role of anchoring proteins are possible therapeutic interventions to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes.”

The study was conducted on mice. Mice that lacked the gene for the anchoring proteins (AKAPs) produced less insulin.  The interesting finding was that the mice compensated for limited amounts of insulin with an increased sensitivity to insulin in the target tissues (skeletal muscle).

The initial finding in this study is pertinent if you are dealing with sluggish beta cells. But usually Type 2 diabetes is a twofold challenge: insulin resistance and insulin production. What this study has revealed is the cause of anchoring proteins having a direct influence on insulin production. The indirect effect of the cause is enhanced insulin sensitivity in lieu of the diminished supply.

It’s a catch-22. If you mess with one side of the equation you must remain balanced to keep things afloat.  There may be rogue waves ahead in this exciting voyage.

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