Save for later

Purifying proteins to help understand insulin

Project summary

Protein Purification Equipment for Insulin Receptor and Insulin Analogues Research

Professor Brzozowski will purchase a state-of-the-art protein purification system to support studies of the interaction between insulin and its receptor at the molecular level. This work will enable the design of new, safer forms of insulin, oral insulin and insulin-related drugs. 

Background to research

The 3D structure of insulin was discovered in 1969. Since then, further studies have shown how multiple insulin molecules cluster together and how the structure of insulin can be modified to make it work faster or slower in the body. It is known that insulin undergoes a significant structural change when it binds to insulin receptor molecules on the surface of cells, but the details are still unclear. In 2013, Professor Andrzej Marek Brzozowski and colleagues made a significant breakthrough by identifying the structure of insulin and its receptor when bound together. They have also developed techniques for manufacturing insulin, modifying its structure and controlling its function to produce super-active forms of the hormone. Research in this area is held back by the challenges involved in producing the insulin receptor in the lab.

Research aims

Professor Brzozowski will use Diabetes UK funding to purchase a state-of-the-art protein purification system to rapidly separate insulin receptors and insulin bound to its receptor from other proteins. This will dramatically simplify, speed up and reduce the costs of their ongoing research into the interaction between insulin and insulin receptors at the molecular level.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

This research will have a fundamental impact on our understanding of the structure and function of insulin and its receptor and the way that they interact. This improved understanding will enable the design of new, safer forms of insulin (including oral insulin and insulin-related drugs) to help improve glucose control and reduce side effects, such as hypos. 

Brand Icons/Telephone check - FontAwesome icons/tick icons/uk