News: May 11, 2016
Two C. elegans larvae. The fuzze structures in the background are E. coli bacteria, which are used as the food source for the worms cultivated in the laboratory.
Researchers at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology have discovered that glucose makes the cellular membrane more rigid. As glucose is a major factor leading to significant health issues in patients with diabetes, this new insight may have far reaching implications in the fight against the disease.
Using C. elegans as a model system, Marc Pilon and his group demonstrated that glucose reduces cell membrane fluidity, indicating a new mechanism for glucotoxicity. They also observed that the membrane proteins PAQR-2 and IGLR-2 are able to interact in the membrane and regulate the cell membrane fluidity in the presence of glucose.
– This is an important discovery, says Marc Pilon, Professor in genetics at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg. Our work not only explains glucotoxicity, but also describes a cellular mechanism that counteracts it. Our findings moreover help to clarify the antidiabetic functions of AdipoR1/2 and identify IGLR-2 as a PAQR-2 co-receptor.
Marc Pilon, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg.
Photo 1: Two C. elegans larvae.
Photo 2: Marc Pilon.