Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

Requirement for translocon-associated protein (TRAP) α in insulin biogenesis

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Science Advances  04 Dec 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 12, eaax0292
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0292


The mechanistic basis for the biogenesis of peptide hormones and growth factors is poorly understood. Here, we show that the conserved endoplasmic reticulum membrane translocon-associated protein α (TRAPα), also known as signal sequence receptor 1, plays a critical role in the biosynthesis of insulin. Genetic analysis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and biochemical studies in pancreatic β cells reveal that TRAPα deletion impairs preproinsulin translocation while unexpectedly disrupting distal steps in insulin biogenesis including proinsulin processing and secretion. The association of common intronic single-nucleotide variants in the human TRAPα gene with susceptibility to type 2 diabetes and pancreatic β cell dysfunction suggests that impairment of preproinsulin translocation and proinsulin trafficking may contribute to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.

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