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Novel compounds that prevent a protein called TORC2 from moving from the cytoplasm and into the nuclei of liver cells might be able to reduce high blood sugar in people with diabetes, according to research done by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators working with teams from the Salk Institute in California and Osaka University in Japan.
The team found that once inside the nucleus, TORC2 acts like a switch to enhance the ability of a second protein called CREB to stimulate the production of enzymes that make glucose during fasting. Following food consumption, TORC2 remains in the cytoplasm, which reduces CREB activity and glucose production. This is how reducing the amount of TORC2 in the nucleus lowers fasting blood glucose, said Paul Brindle, PhD, St. Jude Biochemistry.
"This finding suggests that compounds that block the entry of TORC2 into the nucleus would reduce glucose production by the liver," Brindle said. "And that could help reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes."
A report on this work appears in the journal Nature this month. Other St. Jude authors include Wu Xu and Fayçal Boussour, both of St. Jude Biochemistry.
St. Jude does both laboratory and clinical research in order to find cures for catastrophic diseases of children. Much of this research, especially in the laboratory, leads to discoveries of the basic workings of the body's cells. Therefore, some of our work has broader implications than childhood diseases and provides insights into adult diseases as well.
Last update: December 2005