What is Insulin?
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.
This is a model of the pharmaceutical drug Humalog, insulin lispro, in its stable macro-molecule hexamer form. It is colored by the protein’s bFactor, or atomic temperature. Chains A and C are stained yellow, and Chains B and D are stained dark orange-red. 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 Humalog.