Decoys Suppressing Insulin Signaling

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Scientists at Scripps Research have discovered new biological mechanism of insulin signaling.
  • Newly discovered “decoy” receptor works to bind insulin molecules and keeps them from sending signals for increased insulin production.

Scientists at Scripps Research have discovered a new biological mechanism of insulin signaling. The new discovery might help understand diabetes and human longevity, in a better way. Their study involves the roundworm C. elegans. This study has revealed that a “decoy” receptor works to not only bind insulin molecules, but it also keeps them from sending signals for increased insulin production.

Published in the journal eLife, the study describes a new player in the insulin signaling system. The newly discovered “decoy” is expected to offer insights into insulin resistance, a feature of type 2 diabetes. The scientists are now trying to assess whether or not a similar decoy exists in human body too. If so, it could present a new target for diabetes treatment and prevention research.

Lead author Matthew Gill, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research in Florida, says:

“This truncated, ‘decoy’ receptor that we’ve found adds yet another layer of complexity to our understanding of insulin signaling.”

Other Insights on “decoy” shaping up

Princeton University geneticist Coleen Murphy, PhD, has written that given how well-studied insulin signaling is, the discovery is shocking. He says:

“It would be hard to overstate the importance of a receptor called DAF-2 to our understanding of aging and longevity. The discovery…raises new questions and will change how we think about DAF-2’s role in insulin signaling regulation of aging and longevity.”

Helping to maintain cellular energy stores, Insulin keeps blood sugar within a safe range. Type 2 diabetes features a failure of insulin signaling to reduce blood glucose levels.

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