Quantitative, in situ visualization of intracellular insulin vesicles in pancreatic beta cells
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The three-dimensional distribution of zinc ions inside the pancreas cells responsible for producing insulin has been accurately mapped for the first time.
Pancreatic beta cells produce insulin — the only hormone capable of promptly lowering glucose levels in the blood. When they malfunction, diabetes can ensue.
Zinc ions are known to play key roles in the production, storage and secretion of insulin, but it has been difficult to accurately map their distributions in pancreatic beta cells using current analytic techniques.
Now, a team led by researchers from ShanghaiTech University in China has used advanced X-ray and electron microscopy techniques to accurately determine the locations of zinc ions within pancreatic beta cells.
These measurements will help explore the pathway for insulin secretion and hence shed light on what goes wrong in diabetes, the researchers say.
- PNAS 119, e2202695119 (2022). doi: 10.1073/pnas.2202695119