A key protein may control the production and secretion of insulin, research in the March issue of Nature Cell Biology suggests. Drugs that alter the proteins activity may be the key to future diabetes therapies.
Diabetes mellitus is estimated to affect approximately one in 20 people worldwide. The figure is set to double over the next twenty years, according to the World Health Organization, so new therapies are desperately needed. One protein may be a key player. PTB (polypyrimidine tract-binding protein) controls both the production and secretion of insulin, report Michele Solimena and colleagues. They show that increasing PTB activity increases insulin production in rat pancreatic cells; conversely, reduction of PTB activity decreases insulin production.
The failure to produce insulin is one cause of type II diabetes, and treatments include regular injections of the hormone. A drug that can target PTB to increase insulin production may present a more favourable alternative.
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