ST-18 and Beta-cell Function

Dr. Jean Buteau

Jean ButeauInsulin is produced in the pancreas by specialized cells named beta-cells.  Type 1 diabetes results from selective destruction of beta-cells.  Type 2 diabetes is characterized by both insulin resistance and progressive deterioration of beta-cells.  Thus, diabetes treatment should aim at preserving and expanding surviving beta-cells.  To achieve this goal, it is of the upmost importance to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms governing beta-cell mass and function.

 A previous genomic study conducted in our laboratory identified Suppression of tumorigenicity18 (ST18) as a potentially important regulator of beta-cell mass and function.  However, the biological roles of ST18 remain poorly characterized and its action in beta-cells has never been explored.  In this project, we are going to study the role of this particular protein in beta-cells.  We will also try to understand how the activity of this protein is regulated.  The ultimate goal of our this research project is to characterize ST18 as a target for diabetes treatment.