Researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) have discovered through an investigation that the protein p 53 is responsible for regulating glucose production in the body and therefore is responsible for the levels of glycemia of it.
In addition, these researchers have been able to verify that this protein is altered in patients with diabetes. On the other hand, previous research had already confirmed a protective role against cancer of the protein p 53.
Specifically, this study has been carried out by researchers from the Molecular Metabolism group of the CiMUS of the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC); also attached to the CIBER of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN), in collaboration with other research groups of the Cic BIOGUNE, of the CNIC, of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra; as well as international groups from Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Korea.
Protein p 53 as a regulator of glycemia
This is an extensive study on a protein extensively studied in the field of oncology due to the different functions it presents as a tumor suppressor. However, so far its possible participation in hepatic glucose production under physiological conditions had not been analyzed.
The CiMUS researcher, María J. González Rellán explains how the protein p 53 is a key factor in hepatic glucose production during fasting. «Under these conditions, p 53 undergoes a posttranscriptional modification, called O-GlcNAcylation; that promotes its stabilization and allows it to promote the expression of PCK1, one of the most important enzymes involved in the production of glucose “.
In this sense, these researchers have detailed the way in which the main hormones that enhance glucose production require O-GlcNAcylation of p 53 in order to induce glucose production.
In this regard, this specialist points out that «on the contrary, an excessive increase in the levels of p 53 O-GlcNAcylated prevents insulin signaling from acting properly in the liver, generating insulin resistance. ”
Therefore, this discovery in relation to the protein p 53 could open a new panorama regarding the control of glycemia in the body and potential treatments for the patients with diabetes .
And this study shows how the levels of the enzymes involved in O-GlcNAcylation and levels of p 200 and PCK1 are significantly increased in the liver of patients with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the researchers suggest that this is an important advance in the study of the disease.
It really brings a completely different and unexpected new approach and insight into the way glucose production is regulated in the liver. It is a determining factor in blood glucose levels.
Diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the world
Currently, around one in 11 adults in the world has diabetes ; according to the estimate made by the World Health Organization (WHO). And it is that this organism has cataloged diabetes as the seventh leading cause of death worldwide.
Thus, the maintenance of blood glucose levels requires the correct functioning of a series of mechanisms. In this sense, during fasting, the body tends to produce different amounts of glucose to prevent any episode of hypoglycemia (deficient levels of blood glucose). On the other hand, after meals, glucose production slows down to prevent possible hyperglycemia.
And it is in this aspect where the protein p 53 plays a leading role; since the main producer of glucose in the body is the liver.