Role of Protein in Aging, Diabetes and Obesity

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A team of researchers at University School of Medicine in Washington has discovered a potential controller of sensitivity to insulin, which is a hormone that controls the level of blood sugar in the human body. The novel findings might assist the researchers discover better treatments for obesity, type 2 diabetes and many other health problems which are caused by the inability of the body to properly control the blood sugar.  Muscle and fat cells in individuals with type 2 diabetes become resistant to insulin, thereby resulting in taking of glucose from the blood.

The National Institute on General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) said that “proteins are like long necklaces with differently shaped beads. Each “bead” is a small molecule called an amino acid. There are 20 standard amino acids, each with its own shape, size, and properties. Proteins typically contain from 50 to 2,000 amino acids hooked end-to-end in many combinations. Each protein has its own sequence of amino acids. These amino acid chains do not remain straight and orderly. They twist and buckle, folding in upon themselves, the knobs of some amino acids nestling into grooves in others.”

The protein which is studied by the investigators is called the TBC 1D3. This protein keeps the pathway of insulin open so that the cells persist to take up glucose. This protein is found only in humans and some other primates. Whenever the cells have much of this protein, they have immense response to insulin. They discovered that this protein imperatively condenses the deactivation of a molecule which is responsible for relaying signals from the insulin receptor. This augments the response of cell to insulin. The researcher studied G protein, which helped to convert signals from hormones similar like insulin into particular actions within the cells. The best part is that TBC 1D3 binds a major part of G proteins.

The researchers analyzed the impacts of this protein and found that it controls some prominent functions of the cells like cell growth, nutrient uptake and aging. The researchers observed that flies have short span of life when PP2A gene (a protein activated by TBC 1D3) was knocked out. This showed that TBC 1D3 might also have substantial influence on the aging process. The researchers are currently investigating various factors which control the actions of TBC 1D3. This protein is one of the most mimicked genes in humans which appears anywhere from 5 to more than 50 times in the DNA of an individual.


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