Finding the Molecular Glitches in Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is widespread in the United States and worldwide. As type 2 diabetes progresses, the body’s impaired response to insulin (insulin resistance) results in chronically elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). A better understanding of the causative underlying molecular mechanisms could lead to more effective treatments.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease has awarded Fajun Yang, Ph.D., a four-year, $2 million grant to study the Mediator complex—an important regulator of metabolism that appears to connect many transcription factors (proteins that regulate gene expression) to RNA polymerase II, an enzyme that catalyzes transcription. Dr. Yang and colleagues previously found that MED15, a subunit of the Mediator complex, interacts with the transcription factor GATA4 in the liver to activate gluconeogenesis (production of glucose from non-carbohydrate substrates), leading to insulin resistance in mice. Findings from the research could lead to novel interventions for treating type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Yang is associate professor of medicine and of developmental and molecular biology at Einstein. (1R01DK117417-01)

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