Platypus Venom for Diabetes Research?
New research out of Flinders University and the University of Adelaide finds that the platypus and echidna produce a version of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) that does not dissipate in the body as readily as the human version. These researchers also noticed that the platypus and echidna make GLP-1 in their venom. It seems that GLP-1 plays a dual role in the platypus, first as a gut regulator of glucose and second as a venom for defense during mating1. The stability in the body seems to be due to its DPP-4 resistance. DPP-4 resistance has been seen previously in the gila monster, where Exendin-4 experiences resistance to DPP-4 cleavage2. The findings can be useful since platypus GLP-1 is longer-lasting and can be useful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. These changes to the second amino acid present in the sequence seem to play an important role in conferring this enhanced stability as shown in the figure taken from this report.
- Seeker. (2016). Platypus venom could be the answer to diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.seeker.com/platypus-could-help-diabetes-sufferers-2118508778.html
- E. Tsend-Ayush, et al., (2016), Monotreme glucagon-like peptide-1 in venom and gut: one gene – two very different functions, Nature Scientific Reports, 6, 37744. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/articles/srep37744