The findings of the study provide greater insight into why, in cases of type 2 diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells cease to be able to perform their function of producing sufficient insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control.
“We have linked different gene variants to their effect on donated human beta cells and have compared cells from non-diabetics and diabetics”, says Professor Groop.
The research team had access to cells from 63 donors, nine of whom had had type 2 diabetes.
The starting point for the work was the 47 known gene variants that have a statistical link to diabetes.
“We used them as ‘bait’ to find new signal paths and chains of events where the 47 variants work together with other genes. We have to map patterns because a single gene rarely acts on its own”, explains Leif Groop.
Various criteria were used to sift out the 20 strongest gene variants. The criteria included a difference between beta cells from healthy individuals and diabetics and a link to insulin secretion and blood sugar levels. The majority of the 20 variants identified were not among the 47 known risk genes.
The central aim of the study is to understand why certain gene variants raise the risk of diabetes.“By taking a new and more holistic approach, we have gone a step further than previous projects and succeeded in linking together gene variants and their signal paths in human beta cells that cause reduced insulin secretion. The next step is to look in more detail at the way in which the strongest genes affect insulin secretion”, says Leif Groop.
Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
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The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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