Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unearthing the path to diabetes

09.01.2012
Discovery of a molecular basis for type 2 diabetes reveals how fatty diets can interfere with control of blood sugar levels

A molecular mechanism that links diet, obesity and diabetes involves depletion of specialized ‘transporter proteins’, a Japanese–American team has found1. Transporter proteins deliver glucose to so-called ‘beta cells’ of the pancreas, which produce the hormone insulin to help the body regulate its sugar levels. The work opens the way to new treatments for diabetes since ensuring sufficient numbers of glucose transporter (Glut) proteins on their outer surface could improve beta cell function.

In both humans and animals, there is a widespread and accepted connection between high-fat diets, obesity and susceptibility to type 2 (or adult onset) diabetes (Fig. 1). Until now, however, the causal links were not clear, particularly at a molecular level, explains team member Kazuaki Ohtsubo from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako.

A hallmark of the condition is a drop in the effectiveness of insulin in lowering blood sugar levels, known as insulin resistance. Previous work by other researchers had determined that type 2 diabetes is accompanied by a loss of sensitivity of beta cells to increasing glucose levels. Rising levels of glucose normally trigger secretion of insulin and are detected by greater amounts of sugar moving into beta cells. A decrease in Glut proteins, hence a lower capacity for glucose transport, could therefore explain defective insulin secretion. Interestingly, mice that lack the enzyme GnT-4a, which catalyzes the linkage of Glut proteins to the cell surface, develop type 2 diabetes. In earlier work2, Ohtsubo also showed that a high-fat diet can induce a deficiency of GnT-4a.

To investigate these earlier findings in detail, Ohtsubo and his colleagues from the University of California, USA, investigated the sequence of molecular events in pancreatic beta cells of mice and humans. They found that high levels of fatty acids led to nuclear exclusion of the proteins that facilitate transcription of the genes for GnT-4a and Glut. The resulting deficiency of the GnT-4a enzyme led to many of the symptoms of diabetes. This could be alleviated in mice by adding the human gene for GnT-4a. The researchers also observed that the molecular pathways activated in the mice that developed type 2 diabetes were similar to those that were active in human type 2 diabetes.

“We are already searching for small chemical compounds which activate the expression of GnT-4a in pancreatic beta cells under high-free fatty acids conditions,” says Ohtsubo. “These compounds could improve beta cell function and should be good candidates for new types of drugs for diabetes.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Disease Glycomics Team, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nesting aids make agricultural fields attractive for bees
20.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht The Kitchen Sponge – Breeding Ground for Germs
20.07.2017 | Hochschule Furtwangen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>