When insulin becomes denatured

Protein denaturation is the unfolding of the secondary or tertiary structures (1). For example, heat can denature proteins in eggs by disrupting hydrogen bonds and non-polar hydrophobic interactions and as a result the egg proteins coagulate during cooking (1). Alcohol, like heat, can also disrupt hydrogen bonds, and acids, bases and heavy metal salts denature proteins by disrupting salt bridges (1).

What are biochemical consequences of denaturation of insulin?

In the body, protein denaturation can affect processes biochemically. Native insulin, for example, in the presence of increased, urea may be denatured because of changes in pH or, in the presence of a thiol catalyst, may be denatured due to isomerization (2). The insulin, thus, is unable to properly cause cells to take up glucose as it should (2).

Reference List
1. Ophardt CE. 2003. “Denaturation of Proteins.” Virtual Chembook. Available at: http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/568denaturation.html
2. Jiang C, Jui-Yoa Chang. 2005. Unfolding and breakdown of insulin in the presence of endogenous thiols. FEBS Letters, 579;18. Available at: http://www.febsletters.org/article/S0014-5793(05)00720-9/abstract.
3. Chemistry and Biochemistry Department of Ohio University [Web page]. “Proteins.” Available at: http://dwb4.unl.edu/Chem/CHEM869K/CHEM869KLinks/main.chem.ohiou.edu/~wathen/chem302/protein.html

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: