Welcome, visitor! [ Register | Login

Cone Snail Venom Reveals Insulin Insights

Uncategorized July 2, 2020

Cone Snail Venom Reveals Insulin Insights

The marine cone snail has an unusual survival mechanism that offers new insights for managing diabetes. The snail releases an insulin-containing venom that acts within seconds to stun nearby fish, so they’re easier to capture and eat. Scientists have been fascinated by how rapidly this insulin works compared to human insulin.

Insulin is important for people because it helps maintain blood sugar (glucose) levels. When glucose levels rise, such as after a meal, insulin is released into the bloodstream and travels throughout the body. When insulin binds to special cell-surface structures called receptors, it triggers cells to take in the glucose needed for energy. Diabetes arises when this process doesn’t work correctly. Many people rely on injections of synthetic insulin to manage their diabetes, and rapid action can be crucial.

Human insulin is stored in the body in clusters of 6. To work, the 6 parts must first separate, which might take up to an hour. In contrast, the insulin in cone snails is small and fast acting. It lacks the portion that would hold insulin clusters together.

An NIH-supported research team, based partly at the University of Utah, analyzed the 3-D structure of cone snail insulin. Despite its smaller structure, the snail insulin could bind and turn on the human insulin receptor.

We found that cone snail venom insulins work faster than human insulins by avoiding the structural changes that human insulins undergo in order to function—they are essentially primed and ready to bind to their receptors,” says study coauthor Dr. Michael Lawrence of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

These findings provide insights that could help scientists design rapid-acting insulins that might help to manage diabetes.

No Tags

1462 total views, 2 today


Sponsored Links

  • Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

    by on October 23, 2020 - 0 Comments

    Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Steps Toward a Healthier Life People with diabetes have a problem with blood sugar. Their blood sugar, or blood glucose, can climb too high. Having high levels of sugar in your blood can cause a lot of trouble. Diabetes raises your risk for heart disease, blindness, amputations, and other serious issues. […]

  • Stress Relief Might Help Your Health

    by on October 22, 2020 - 0 Comments

    Feeling Stressed? Stress Relief Might Help Your Health   Winter holidays—do they fill you with joy or with worries about gift-giving and family gatherings? Do summer vacations leave you relaxed or fretful over travel and money? If you’re feeling stressed out over supposedly fun things, it might be time to reassess. Take a few moments […]

  • Managing Diabetes

    by on October 24, 2020 - 0 Comments

    Managing Diabetes New Technologies Can Make It Easier Your body takes care of countless tasks for you. You might not notice all it’s doing to keep you healthy until something goes wrong. Diabetes is a serious disease that happens when your body has trouble managing and using blood glucose, a sugar that your body uses […]

  • Diabetes Increases in Children and Teens

    by on October 28, 2020 - 0 Comments

    Diabetes Increases in Children and Teens   The study found a rise in the rate of new cases of diabetes in youths under the age of 20.MarkHatfield/iStock/Thinkstock A recent study found that rates of new cases of diabetes in children and teens rose during 2002 to 2012. The researchers reported increases in the rates of […]

  • 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life

    by on October 25, 2020 - 0 Comments

    4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life   Each year, 1.7 million Americans, ages 20 and up, are diagnosed with diabetes. People with diabetes have high levels of blood glucose (also called blood sugar). If left undiag­nosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and other health problems. That’s […]