According to a new research published in the Communications Biology, a common protein present throughout our body, may play a very important role in regulating blood glucose level.
The new research conducted in the Cell Signal Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Riken Center of Integrative Medical Sciences, found that CNOT3, a protein, can silence a set of genes responsible for development of diabetes.
Diabetes, if left untreated, can cause many serious health problems kidney failure, heart disease, and vision loss.
Very high blood glucose levels in our body occurs in tow situations: when the body does not have enough insulin, or when the body’s insulin-induced responses are impaired.
Insulin normally lets glucose into cells for energy-use and so, without it, glucose builds up in the blood instead. A lack of insulin is often because the pancreatic beta cells, which normally synthesize and secrete insulin, have stopped functioning correctly.
“We know that defects in beta cells can lead to high levels of glucose in the blood and, eventually, diabetes.” said Dr. Dina Mostafa, former Ph.D. student in the Unit and first author of the paper published in Communications Biology. “Our results suggest that CNOT3 has a hand in this and plays a key role in maintaining normal beta cell function.”
CNOT3 performs many tasks inside our body. Different genes in different tissues are regulated by it. All of its activities are driven by one common purpose: to keep cells alive, healthy, and functioning correctly.
There are many mechanisms which help this protein to perform all these important tasks. Producing the right proteins or suppressing certain genes are some of the important mechanisms.
Here, researchers studied its function in islet cells from pancreatic tissue in mice. These islets are notoriously difficult to work with, taking up just only one to two percent of the pancreas, but they’re where the beta cells are located.
The researchers found a significant decrease in the CNOT3 in the diabetic islets as opposed to the non-diabetic ones.
Without CNOT3, the researchers found that some genes, which are normally switched off in beta cells, switch on and start to produce proteins. Under normal circumstances, these genes are silenced because once they switch on, they cause all kinds of problems for the beta cells, such as stopping them from secreting insulin in response to glucose.
“We still don’t know that much about these kinds of genes, s