Science

Scientists identify a protein increases action of insulin, helps regulate blood sugar levels

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on November 22, 2019

Here is some good news for people suffering from obesity induced diabetes. Indian scientists have identified a protein that can help regulate blood sugar levels in the body.

The role of protein secretagon (SCGN) in increasing insulin action in obesity induced diabetes has been explained by researchers at the CSIR- CCMB, Hyderabad. The understanding can lead to better ways of managing diabetes, developing a potential therapeutic drug along with life style modifications.

Diabetes is one of the most rampant diseases worldwide affecting millions every year, with more than 60 million affected in India alone. It is a metabolic disorder with a defect in insulin production, secretion or action which consequently results in high blood glucose levels.

The scientific team of Yogendra Sharma, Radhika Khandelwal and Amrutha Chidananda have shown how the protein increases the action of insulin secreted by the Pancreas and helps control blood sugar levels.

In a research publication the scientists said “Various kinds of cellular stresses can result in loss of structure and function of insulin, ultimately leading to diabetes. At present, the processes regulating insulin synthesis, maturation, secretion and signalling in diabetes are not completely understood. The SCGN protein binds to the insulin and protects it from various stresses, increases its stability and adds to action. In experiments on obese mice, the

CCMB scientists have shown injection of SCGN (found at lower levels in diabetic patients) clears excess insulin from circulation, and reduces fat mass. The SCGN treated animals also had lower levels of harmful LDL-cholesterol and lower lipid accumulation in liver cells. These findings,published in the latest issue of the journal iScience, establish SCGN as a functional insulin-binding protein with therapeutic potential against diabetes.

Diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often linked with each other. SCGN is found in lower quantities in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

In a parallel study also recently published in Biochemistry, Sharma’s group has also shown SCGN’s role in preventing formation of alpha-synuclein protein fibrils – a precursor for many neurodegenerative diseases. Sharma says, “SCGN would soon become a diagnostic marker, and one should check its potential as a therapeutic candidate.

“While studying calcium-binding properties of SCGN, CCMB scientists have discovered a novel function of this protein in diabetes biology, yet another example of how quality basic science can lead to valuable applications” says Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB.

Published on November 22, 2019

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