Eric Taylor, assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, was recently awarded a five-year, $1.87 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study biological mechanisms used by the liver to make glucose.
Excessive glucose production by the liver is a major cause of high blood sugar, which is a defining feature of type 2 diabetes and is responsible for many of the condition's medical complications. The liver uses a molecule called pyruvate as its primary building block for synthesizing glucose. During glucose production, a specialized portal named the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier (MPC) transports pyruvate into the energy-producing hub of the cell called mitochondria. Thus, the MPC is potentially a critical point of metabolic control for regulating glucose production.
Taylor will use the new funding to investigate the molecular mechanisms regulating MPC function and to determine whether inhibiting MPC activity will therapeutically decrease elevated blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.