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Adaptor protein role in diabetes, cancer treatments

A protein known to be part of a complex communications network within the cell has also been found to be associated with important processes involved in cancer and diabetes.

In a study that will be published Feb. 18 in Science Signaling, researchers identified a new role for the adaptor protein p66Shc in controlling glucose metabolism and cell growth, two processes that are highly regulated in our cells. When disruptions in these functions occur, diseases like cancer and diabetes can arise.

The job of adaptor proteins is to act as a linker or switch to fine-tune cellular functions. Previous research by other scientists suggested that mice deficient in the p66Shc adaptor protein have an increased lifespan, no signs of cancer, better glucose tolerance and an apparent resistance to the development of obesity and diabetes.