MicroRNAs: micromanaging the pancreatic beta-cell
Usually after a meal, our bloodstream carries excess glucose that should be absorbed by cells. They are instructed to do so by the hormone insulin, which is produced by beta cells in the pancreas. In diabetes type 2, cells become resistant to insulin. The body tries to compensate by creating more beta cells and producing more of the hormone. Matthew Poy's lab has now shown that this response depends on a complex biochemical pathway in the cells involving microRNA molecules. The work appears in the Jan. 7 edition of Cell Metabolism.