Mapping The Diabetes Network

Researchers have combined genomics, proteomics and metabolomics data to create a comprehensive map of how insulin affects cells.

AsianScientist (Sep. 25, 2018) – A research group in Japan has created a ‘subway map’ of the biological pathways involved in diabetes. Their findings are published in iScience.

Scientists already have methods to understand all the genes (genomics), proteins (proteomics), or metabolites (metabolomics) within a cell. However, these data are often analyzed independently of one another, which may not provide a holistic understanding of the disease.

In this study, researchers led by Professor Shinya Kuroda at the University of Tokyo, Japan, have pioneered a trans-omics approach that combines these disparate fields to understand the interactions between molecules inside cells in a comprehensive way.

“Our results look almost like a subway map. Each molecule that insulin influences, directly or indirectly, is like a station. But a map is not very useful if you do not know the route. Our method combines database information with new experimental data to show how the different stations, or molecules, connect after receiving the insulin signal,” said Kuroda.

Their analysis revealed that cells respond not just to the presence or absence of insulin, but can interpret and respond differently to varying concentrations of insulin to control distinct biological processes. The research team is currently conducting experiments to verify these results in mouse models of diabetes.

A detailed understanding of the dynamics of how and when insulin activates other molecules within cells may make it possible to design more effective insulin regimens for people with diabetes, said the researchers.

The article can be found at: Kawata et al. (2018) Trans-omic Analysis Reveals Selective Responses to Induced and Basal Insulin Across Signaling, Transcriptional, and Metabolic Networks.


Source: University of Tokyo.
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