A new gene, tomosyn-2 that is known to have insulin inhibiting qualities, has been found. When obese mice were examined, it was found that this gene inhibits the secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Insulin is the enzyme that breaks down carbohydrate and fats in the food consumed. Lack of this enzyme causes diabetes. The research was conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The team was lead by Alan Attie. According to Attie, although the gene is found to inhibit the release of insulin in the body of obese mice, similarity in humans is yet to be studied. However, the study has brought to light the fact that there are genes that inhibit the release of insulin, thus acting as negative regulator. Alan Attie said that the effect of this gene in humans will very likely be the same.
When the body is healthy and works optimally, the insulin produced in the body is regular. Specified amount of insulin is released and this helps in digestion of starch, fats and carbohydrates.
When there is a disturbance in the level of insulin produced, the body falls prey to diseases, diabetes being the prime one. There are two ways in which insulin production in the body may be disturbed.
One way is inadequate production and the other way is when the body becomes resistant to insulin function. When the body produces inadequate insulin, Type I diabetes results and when the body becomes resistant to insulin production, Type II diabetes results. In certain cases, the insulin production in the body becomes very high. As a result, the amount of glucose in the body becomes very low. In such cases, very dangerous repercussions such as coma can result.
This condition where the glucose levels of the body dip dangerously is called hypoglycemia. The research was primarily undertaken to find genes that caused obese mice to become susceptible to diabetes. The genes of these mice were analyzed and comparisons were drawn between strains of mice that were susceptible to diabetes and those resistant to it. In the course of these experimentations, Tomosyn-2 gene was discovered. When the two strains were compared, it was found that in mice resistant to diabetes, there is an amino acid that destabilizes tomosyn-2. As a result, these mice are able to produce sufficient insulin to carry on normal metabolism and avoid diabetes. The study has also shown a pathway that can be followed to understand the biology involved behind diabetes.