A novel covalently linked insulin dimer
[INS_HUMAN] Defects in INS are the cause of familial hyperproinsulinemia (FHPRI) [MIM:176730].    Defects in INS are a cause of diabetes mellitus insulin-dependent type 2 (IDDM2) [MIM:125852]. IDDM2 is a multifactorial disorder of glucose homeostasis that is characterized by susceptibility to ketoacidosis in the absence of insulin therapy. Clinical fetaures are polydipsia, polyphagia and polyuria which result from hyperglycemia-induced osmotic diuresis and secondary thirst. These derangements result in long-term complications that affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels. Defects in INS are a cause of diabetes mellitus permanent neonatal (PNDM) [MIM:606176]. PNDM is a rare form of diabetes distinct from childhood-onset autoimmune diabetes mellitus type 1. It is characterized by insulin-requiring hyperglycemia that is diagnosed within the first months of life. Permanent neonatal diabetes requires lifelong therapy.  Defects in INS are a cause of maturity-onset diabetes of the young type 10 (MODY10) [MIM:613370]. MODY10 is a form of diabetes that is characterized by an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance, onset in childhood or early adulthood (usually before 25 years of age), a primary defect in insulin secretion and frequent insulin-independence at the beginning of the disease.  
[INS_HUMAN] Insulin decreases blood glucose concentration. It increases cell permeability to monosaccharides, amino acids and fatty acids. It accelerates glycolysis, the pentose phosphate cycle, and glycogen synthesis in liver.
Publication Abstract from PubMed
An ingenious system evolved to facilitate insulin binding to the insulin receptor as a monomer and at the same time ensure sufficient stability of insulin during storage. Insulin dimer is the cornerstone of this system. Insulin dimer is relatively weak, which ensures dissociation into monomers in the circulation, and it is stabilized by hexamer formation in the presence of zinc ions during storage in the pancreatic beta-cell. Due to the transient nature of insulin dimer, direct investigation of this important form is inherently difficult. To address the relationship between insulin oligomerization and insulin stability and function, we engineered a covalently linked insulin dimer in which two monomers were linked by a disulfide bond. The structure of this covalent dimer was identical to the self-association dimer of human insulin. Importantly, this covalent dimer was capable of further oligomerization to form the structural equivalent of the classical hexamer. The covalently linked dimer neither bound to the insulin receptor, nor induced a metabolic response in vitro. However, it was extremely thermodynamically stable and did not form amyloid fibrils when subjected to mechanical stress, underlining the importance of oligomerization for insulin stability.
Novel covalently linked insulin dimer engineered to investigate the function of insulin dimerization.,Vinther TN, Norrman M, Strauss HM, Huus K, Schlein M, Pedersen TA, Kjeldsen T, Jensen KJ, Hubalek F PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30882. Epub 2012 Feb 17. PMID:22363506
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.