Using the gene editing technology called CRISPR and other sophisticated scientific tools, researchers have identified a new culprit Type-2 diabetes gene.
The researchers believe that because this gene, ACSL5, codes for a protein that regulates how the body recognises insulin, that protein may represent an important target for future treatments for the disease.
“Type-2 diabetes is increasingly common, with an impact on millions of people,” said study leader Struan Grant from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the US.
“But it has complex causes, involving multiple genes and environmental influences, and we are still learning the details of its complicated biology. Our goal in investigating these biological functions is to develop more effective therapies,” Grant said.
Because the the gene codes for the enzyme, acyl CoA synthesase 5, that plays a role in lipid metabolism, developing drugs to act on this enzyme might help patients with Type-2 diabetes by increasing their sensitivity to insulin – an underlying issue in the disease, said the study published in the journal Diabetologia.
However, much remains to be learned about the action of the newly identified culprit gene, the authors cautioned.