Toronto: Scientists including an Indian-origin researcher have discovered a key enzyme that can stop the toxic effects of sugar in various organs of the body.
This enzyme, named glycerol 3-phosphate phosphatase (G3PP), plays a central role in controlling glucose and fat utilisation.
Led by Dr Marc Prentki and Dr Murthy Madiraju from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), the team demonstrated that G3PP is able to detoxify excess sugar from the cells.
The discovery can lead to the development of therapeutics for obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
It is extremely rare since the 1960s that a novel enzyme is discovered at the heart of metabolism of nutrients in all mammalian tissues.
“We identified the enzyme while looking for mechanisms enabling beta cells to get rid of excess glucose as glycerol,” said Dr Madiraju.
This mechanism has also been found to be operating in liver cells, and this enzyme is present in all body tissues, he added.
“We found that G3PP is able to breakdown a great proportion of excess glycerol phosphate to glycerol and divert it outside the cell, thus protecting the insulin producing beta cells of pancreas and various organs from toxic effects of high glucose levels,” explained Dr Prentki, principal investigator at the CRCHUM.
“By diverting glucose as glycerol, G3PP prevents excessive formation and storage of fat and it also lowers excessive production of glucose in liver, a major problem in diabetes,” noted Dr Madiraju.
The work offers a new therapeutic target for obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.