Researchers identified a protein (sphere representation) that binds to and activates the insulin receptor (ribbon structure), though it’s less potent at turning on the receptor than insulin itself.
Credit: J. Agric. Food Chem
Bitter Fruit Bears Protein That Can Act Like Insulin
Diabetes: Researchers discover a protein in bitter melon that binds to and activates the insulin receptor, offering a potential path to new diabetes treatments
Practitioners of traditional medicine have long turned to a knobby green fruit known as bitter melon (Momordica charantia) to treat ailments such as diabetes. Researchers dug into the melon and discovered a protein that binds to and activates the insulin receptor, improving glucose metabolism in diabetic mice (J. Agric. Food Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/jf5002099). The protein may be a starting point for the development of novel therapies for diabetes, the scientists say.