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Why does insulin resistance occur in Type 2 diabetes?

Project summary

Role of Syntaxin4 tyrosine phosphorylation in insulin-sensitivity

Insulin resistance is a key feature of Type 2 diabetes. It affects the ability of the body’s cells to take in glucose and causes high blood glucose levels.

Professor Bryant will explore whether proteins involved in this process don’t work properly in people with Type 2 diabetes. This research could improve our understanding of what causes Type 2 diabetes and how to treat it.

Background to research

The hormone insulin tells our cells to take in glucose from the blood. It does this by causing the proteins responsible for transporting glucose to move to the surface of the cells. In Type 2 diabetes, this process doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance), causing glucose levels in the blood to rise. 

Professor Bryant has found that a set of proteins, called SNAREs, are involved in transporting glucose. More recently she discovered that one particular SNARE protein – called Syntaxin 4 – is controlled by insulin. 

Research aims

Professor Bryant wants to find out whether insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes is caused by the SNARE proteins not working properly. The researchers know that, in order to work properly, Syntaxin4 is modified inside the cell by insulin.

The team want to know whether this process is broken in Type 2 diabetes and if this affects the ability of glucose to move inside the cell, causing insulin resistance. 

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

This project will give us new insights into how people with Type 2 diabetes stop responding to insulin (known as insulin resistance). This could help scientists to find better ways to treat insulin resistance and diagnose it earlier. 

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