A Protein Central to Diabetes Uncovered

UCSF researchers led by Feroz Papa, MD, PhD, have discovered a molecule, TXNIP, which initiates inflammation that leads to the death of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.  Published in the journal Cell Metabolism, Dr. Papa’s team learned that this protein dramatically increases the amount of stress found in these cells, and their subsequent death causes diabetes.  Learn more about this exciting research through the UCSF News Office

Based in both the Diabetes Center and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), Dr. Papa is a practicing endocrinologist at SFGH.  Dr. Papa’s research focuses on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) – a compartment of the cell where insulin is synthesized.  Dr. Papa believes that during the gradual development of both types 1 and 2 diabetes, the stress of processing unmanageable amounts of insulin will overwork the ER of the beta cell – eventually leading to beta cell death. Dr. Papa's lab is engaged in finding new therapies to prevent beta cell death, and to thereby reduce the progression of diabetes.