Minimizing Mitogenic Potency of Insulin Analogues Through Modification of a Disulfide Bond


Shee Chee Ong, Alessia Belgi, Allanah L Merriman, Carlie A Delaine, Bianca Van Lierop, Sofianos Andrikopoulos, Andrea J Robinson, Briony E Forbes

Published Frontiers in Endocrinology
Graphical abstract  

The mechanisms by which insulin activates the insulin receptor to promote metabolic processes and cellular growth are still not clear. Significant advances have been gained from recent structural studies in understanding how insulin binds to its receptor. However, the way in which specific interactions lead to either metabolic or mitogenic signalling remains unknown. Currently there are only a few examples of insulin receptor agonists that have biased signalling properties. Here we use novel insulin analogues that differ only in the chemical composition at the A6–A11 bond, as it has been changed to a rigid, non-reducible C=C linkage (dicarba bond), to reveal mechanisms underlying signaling bias. We show that introduction of an A6-A11 cis-dicarba bond into either native insulin or the basal/long acting insulin glargine results in biased signalling analogues with low mitogenic potency. This can be attributed to reduced insulin receptor activation that prevents effective receptor internalization and mitogenic signalling. Insight gained into the receptor interactions affected by insertion of an A6-A11 cis-dicarba bond will ultimately assist in the development of new insulin analogues for the treatment of diabetes that confer low mitogenic activity and therefore pose minimal risk of promoting cancer with long term use.


Ong SC, Belgi A, Merriman AL, Delaine CA, van Lierop B, Andrikopoulos S, Robinson AJ and Forbes BE (2022) Minimizing Mitogenic Potency of Insulin Analogues Through Modification of a Disulfide Bond. Front. Endocrinol. 13:907864.



insulin, dicarba insulin, insulin receptor, biased signalling agonists, mitogenic, extracellular-signal- regulated kinase (ERK), glucose metabolism, cell signalling

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