insulin found in cone snail venom may be effective treatment

insulin found in cone snail venom may be effective treatment

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Type 1 diabetics may be able to do without daily insulin injections thanks to the venom of a sea cone snail, which contains fast-acting insulin. In the past, researchers had already used the insulin of the cone snail geographer, but it turns out that the cone snail of Kinoshita produces an insulin of more particular anatomy. Possessing a unique elongated region that binds to receptors, but does not produce clumps, marine-derived insulin could thus serve as the basis for the design of drugs for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Researchers have yet to test its safety and stability and consider clinical trials in humans.

Essential for lowering blood sugar levels, insulin is a peptide hormone found in all animals. In vertebrates (including humans), insulin is secreted in the form of a hexamer which dissociates into a dimer and then into a monomer which activates the insulin receptor.

However, compared to the physiological release of insulin in non-diabetics, that administered under the skin of diabetics is slow acting. It is for this reason that patients should inject insulin well in advance of their meal.

Marine cone snails: fast-acting insulin in their venom

The solution may lie in the venom released by cone snails, which contains faster-acting insulin. Indeed, the approximately 1000 existing species of marine conical snails use complex venoms to capture their prey: fish, worms or other snails. Composed mainly of paralyzing neurotoxins, these venoms contain other molecules. ” We have previously shown that some species also use insulin in their toxin arsenal “, write the researchers of the new study published in Nature Chemical Biology.

Venomous insulins rapidly bind to and activate the prey’s insulin receptors and consequently induce dangerously low blood glucose levels, rendering the poisoned animal unable to escape. Venom insulins have therefore developed unique structure-function properties that allow for very rapid action “. This could be used to develop venom insulin drugs, making life easier for type 1 diabetics who still have to inject the hormone daily.

Creation of a hybrid devoid of the clumping region of the human version

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