insulin found in cone snail venom may be an effective treatment

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Type 1 diabetics can do without daily insulin injections thanks to the venom of a marine snail, which contains fast-acting insulin. In the past, researchers have used insulin from the geographer cone snail, but it turns out that the Kinoshita cone snail produces an insulin with a more particular anatomy. Possessing a unique elongated region that binds to receptors but does not clump, marine-derived insulin could serve as a basis for designing drugs to treat type 1 diabetes. Researchers have yet to prove its safety and stability and consider human clinical trials

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

However, compared to the physiological release of insulin in non-diabetics, insulin delivered under the skin in diabetics is slow-acting. For this reason, patients must inject their insulin well before a 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. In fact, the approximately 1,000 extant species of marine cone snails use complex poisons to capture their prey: fish, worms, or other snails. Composed primarily of paralytic neurotoxins, these poisons contain other molecules. ” We have previously shown that some species also use insulin in their arsenal of toxins. write the researchers of the new study published in nature chemistry biology.

« The poisonous insulins rapidly bind and activate the prey’s insulin receptors, thereby inducing dangerously low blood glucose levels, rendering the poisoned animal unable to escape. Therefore, venom insulins have developed unique structure-function properties that allow very rapid action. This could be used to develop drugs based on poisonous insulin, making life easier for type 1 diabetics who still have to inject themselves with the hormone daily.

Creation of a hybrid that lacks the crowding region of the human version

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