Mutant Protein Discovered in Type 1 Diabetes
Scientists at the University of Michigan have discovered an “event” that sometimes takes place inside the pancreatic cells. This event they discovered is called neonatal (newborn) type 1 of diabetes. Which is a somewhat rare type of diabetes and in many newborns, it disappears on its own.
The Event That was Discovered
This event is when a mutant protein “cause a portion of the proinsulin proteins in the pancreas' beta cells to misfold.” This is bad because proinsulin proteins are the proteins that come before the insulin. Without the precursors of insulin the body cannot regulate the hormone insulin and irregular blood sugar level are the result. The misfolded beta cells cause the healthy proinsulin proteins found in the beta cells to also misfold.
What Peter Arvan, M.D., Ph.D., had to say about the event that takes place with the proinsulin proteins. "Once the 'good' proinsulin turns 'bad,' it cannot be made into insulin and so the beta cells, and then the whole animal, become insulin deficient. The insulin deficiency causes diabetes and from there, things get worse and worse."
Currently studies are being performed on lab mice and rats to try and the scientists have been able to determine based on the mouse model they created is that that misfolding occurred in normal proinsulin protein when mutant proinsulin protein was present. Their beliefs are that these mutated proteins are that start in the beginning of life is what eventually leads to the onset of diabetes. More studies need to be performed and more research done before any medical therapies can be developed.