Compounds are already being developed for blocking the gene—known as Id1—as it has known adverse effects in cancer. This drug development work would very much shorten the path from discovery to prospective treatment in the case of diabetes.
... PhD scholar Mia Akerfeldt and Dr Ross Laybutt from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research have found that Id1 appears to be the master regulator of other genes in a beta cell, and it is ‘switched on’ when people consume a high fat diet. This finding is reported in the journal Diabetes, now online.
“We’re saying that Id1 is the molecular link between environmental factors, such as high fat diet, and beta cell dysfunction,” said Dr Laybutt.
“Not only does the presence of Id1 appear to initiate all the other gene expression changes that take place in dysfunctional beta cells, its absence completely protects the beta cell.”
“We’ve demonstrated our finding in animal models and cell culture, and we’ve also shown that pancreatic tissue from diabetic people expresses Id1.”