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Research Fellows Directory

Guy Rutter

Professor Guy Rutter

Research Fellow

Organisation

Imperial College London

Research summary

Diabetes is a 21st century epidemic which presently affects ~8 % or more of the world’s adult population, a figure predicted to increase further in coming years. We are interested in understanding how genes which have been shown to affect the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes act in the body to modify insulin secretion. To this end, we are using a variety of models, including transgenic mice, to “knock out” or reintroduce these genes and explore the effects on insulin production and glucose homeostasis. One of these, termed SLC30A8, transports zinc into the pancreatic beta cell where it is co-stored with insulin. We have shown that the inactivation of this gene in the mouse prevents the normal packaging of insulin and believe this is how the variant human gene is likely to increase diabetes risk. We have recently shown that release of glucagon – a hormone which opposes the actions of insulin – is also likely to be involved in altered disease risk. Likewise, a further gene, TCF7L2, which controls the expression of other genes, appears to act not just directly on the pancreatic beta cell, but also via other tissues, including fat depots. Finally, we have obtained evidence from human and mouse studies that the STARD10 gene is likely to mediate the action of variants at a previously-described, but largely uncharacterized, type 2 diabetes locus, and provide a probable mechanism of action.

Grants awarded

Dissecting the actions of T2D susceptibility genes on insulin secretion

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: May 2011 - Apr 2016

Value: £50,000

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