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June 2, 1989

Investigators Add Pieces to Insulin Puzzle

JAMA. 1989;261(21):3074. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420210018008

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THE IDENTIFICATION of two key molecules in a chain of insulin-initiated reactions is increasing understanding of a multi-step cascade that is initiated when insulin binds to membrane receptors and that terminates with glucose transportation into the cell.

The elucidation of that metabolic pathway is expected to do for diabetes research what the description of cholesterol metabolism has done for atherosclerosis investigation—identify several stages at which defects may occur and thus provide several opportunities for therapy.

M. Daniel Lane, PhD, director, Department of Biological Chemistry, has been pursuing that investigational avenue for almost a decade. Recently he and his colleagues have been approaching the problem by blocking the chain of metabolic reactions that have occurred at a certain point after insulin binding, then analyzing the products that have accumulated.

When they undertook their recent experiments, Lane and his colleagues already knew a few things about the reaction. They knew that when