New study sheds light on activation of enzyme often linked to type 2 diabetes

New research suggests that a process key to the development of insulin resistance may work in unexpected ways. The study, which was conducted by researchers from Florida State University, could change the approach to developing drugs for type 2 diabetes.
A key enzyme in the body’s response to glucose is glucokinase. It is the body’s primary glucose sensor, telling different parts of the body to process glucose at different times. When glucokinase doesn’t work, this can often lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Pharmaceutical companies began developing drugs to activate impaired glucokinase in people with type 2 diabetes. But they only focused on one way of activating the enzyme.
This study suggests that there is another way to activate glucokinase.
“In principle, our findings could open the door for a new approach to treat diseases of glucose homeostasis, such as diabetes,” said Associate Professor of Chemistry Brian Miller.
The researchers hope to take the research further, and conduct more advanced analyses on the activation of glucokinase. If their work is successful, it could lead to new ways of preventing insulin resistance, as well as creating a new avenue of interest for pharmaceutical companies.
Post-doctoral researcher Carl Whittington said: “Our study is important because it sheds new light onto how the functional properties of the enzyme can manifest in disease.”
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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