Articles, Blog

Insulin From Bacteria To You

October 8, 2019


Diabetes is a disease caused by excessive
amounts of blood glucose. This condition known as hyperglycemia is fatal
if untreated and leads to various symptoms, such as excessive urination, fatigue, weight
loss, and blurred vision. In order to control blood glucose levels,
a hormone known as insulin is made by the pancreas to signal cells for the uptake of
blood glucose. Type I diabetes is caused by insufficient
blood insulin and is believed to be caused by a variety of factors, such as viral infections
from the rotovirus in measles and genetics. In 1921, Dr. Frederick Banting researched
a successful way to isolate insulin from pancreatic cells in dogs. They later began mass producing insulin for
diabetic patients from pigs, saving many. Porcine insulin and human insulin only differ
by one amino acid residue at the C terminus, in which the alanine in pig insulin is replaced
with a threonine in humans. Because of this, this meant that pig insulin
was compatible with human insulin receptors. While animal insulins are still sometimes
used today, they must be very pure – as there are impurities that have been shown
to cause allergic reactions. In 1926, scientists first crystallized insulin,
and then in 1955 a breakthrough by Frederick Sanger allowed scientists to sequence the
DNA coding for insulin. The 3D structure was solved by Dorothy Hodgkin
in 1969 through the use of x-ray crystallography. After Sanger’s work, scientists could use
the genetic code to synthesize their own insulin. Efficient mass production of insulin began
in 1978 through a recombinant bacteria in which insulin genes were inserted for bacteria
to transcribe and translate into insulin. Thus, the insulin that you use is mass produced
by lab bacteria. For more information on Type I diabetes and
diabetes treatment and management, please visit the Protein Data Bank website. Thanks for watching.

You Might Also Like

3 Comments

  • Reply José R. Luciano S. September 29, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Short but good abstract. Thanks.

  • Reply Darren Taylor February 27, 2019 at 2:51 am

    I’ve been type 1 for nearly 10 years and never really thought about where my insulin comes from, very interesting thank you.

  • Reply OVC 703 July 29, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    you should explain to people why it costs so much
    and the retarded fucking Americans who patented something like this lol

  • Leave a Reply