Jeremy Smith, Governor’s Chair for Molecular Biophysics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and director of the Center for Molecular Biophysics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has worked with a research team from the UT Health Science Center to discover a chemical compound that could lower sugar levels as effectively as the diabetes drug metformin but with a lower dose.
Smith, together with Jerome Baudry, of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and graduate student Karan Kapoor, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, used high-performance computing to create sophisticated simulations to suggest chemicals that could activate GPRC6A, a protein that regulates sugar levels by simultaneously correcting abnormalities in pancreatic insulin secretion, glucose uptake into skeletal muscle, and liver regulation of glucose and fat metabolism. The UTHSC team verified its potency and used this starting point to design an even more effective chemical.
“This chemical compound lowers sugar levels in mice as effectively as metformin, but with a 30-times lower dose,” Smith said. “It therefore is a good starting point for the development of a new and effective drug to fight diabetes.”