Insulin Receptor Essay

2410 words - 10 pages

Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of Americans everyday. As the years go on, diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent within America. Ongoing research is being done to gain valuable intellect on the disease and for the development of treatments for the disease. There are a few different causes of diabetes but each involves contact with insulin and insulin receptor on some level, since insulin and insulin receptor are involved in the pathway that regulates glucose levels within the body. The insulin/insulin receptor pathway is vital in maintaining homeostasis within the body. As greater information is gathered on the insulin receptor structure and how it functions a better understanding of treatments for diabetes can possibly be unlocked.

Insulin Receptor Gene
The insulin receptor has several defined exons that encode for various regions of the protein and knowing this information begins to allow for greater insight into the structure of insulin receptor. Origination of insulin receptor begins through proteolytic cleavage of the zymogen of insulin receptor (Seino et al., 1989). The insulin receptor is a homodimeric protein with α2β2 subunits (Huang et al., 2004). Upon analysis of cDNA, it was discovered that eleven exons make up the α subunit and 11 exons make up the β subunit (Seino et al., 1989). These exons lead to the specific characteristics that insulin receptor displays within its structure.

General Structure
There is a plethora of research on insulin receptor structure since it has many vital functions within the body and because of its function or lack of function in such a prevalent disease as diabetes. As mentioned before insulin receptor is a homodimeric protein containing two α and two β subunits (Huang et al., 2004) The protein also contains disulfide bonds that secure the subunits to each other and secures its place in the cell membrane (Huang et al., 2004). It is a heavily glycosylated protein (Schaffer, 1994). The α subunit contains the binding region and is made up of 731 amino acids and has a molecular mass of 130 kDa (Seino et al., 1989; Lee and Pilch, 1994). The β subunit is 620 amino acids and has a molecular mass of 95 kDa (Seino et al., 1989; Lee and Pilch, 1994). The glycosylation may account for much of the molecular mass.
Insulin receptor protein is complex and it has the ability to cause a variety of different functions within the cell and the body. For example, insulin receptor is known as a tyrosine kinase receptor, which means that it is involved in an enzymatic family with functions in cellular division, in addition to having function in glucose maintenance within the body (Lee and Pilch, 1994; Schaffer, 1994). The main overall function is metabolic regulation of glucose (Lee and Pilch, 1994). It is well known the function of an enzyme is determined by its structure.

β subunit
The β subunits are one of the major parts of insulin receptor. These β subunits are two heavily...

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