This is a model of the pharmaceutical drug Tresiba, insulin degludec, in its stable macro-molecule hexamer form. Tresiba is a fascinating drug, engineered to create long, macromolecular filaments that get stored in fat. Attached to each hexamer are 6 hydrocarbon chains (blue-cyan sticks). They act like tails reaching out to a neighbor hexamer to bind. The model is colored by the protein’s bFactor, or atomic temperature. Chains A and C are stained yellow, and Chains B and D are stained green. The core of the macro-molecule shows the stable, cool binding region of each monomer, an important characteristic of natural human insulin, and enhanced in tresiba.
Insulin is a chemical messenger produced by the pancreas in response to food. These types of proteins are called hormones, traveling throughout the body to communicate messages from one cell to another. Insulin’s message to a cell describes the amount of circulating sugar traveling through the bloodstream. When bound to an insulin receptor, glucose transporters are sequestered to the plasma membrane and begin pumping glucose into the cell. An important protein for sure, you can imagine the dangers of diseases like diabetes when levels of this hormone dramatically change.
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