For the first time, researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected with the Catholic University of Leuven have shown clearly that receptors in yeast cells detect and react to nutrients in the cell. The chance is great that this is also the case with human cells. Because about 40% of today’s medicines act on receptors in our cells, this research opens new possibilities for the treatment of metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.
Detecting sugars in the cell
Every living thing is composed of cells, which communicate with each other and the external world by means of receptor proteins on the cell membrane. These proteins receive signals from outside the cell by binding themselves with particular substances (such as hormones), which then produces a reaction by the cell to regulate processes internal or external to the cell. A number of medicines play on this cellular operation to produce beneficial responses for our health. Now, for the first time, Katleen Lemaire and her colleagues, under the direction of Johan Thevelein of VIB and the Catholic University of Leuven, have discovered receptor proteins in yeast cells that detect and react to glucose and sucrose.
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