Proinsulin-Transferrin Fusion Protein as a Novel Long-Acting Insulin Analog for the Inhibition of Hepatic Glucose Production
- Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
- Corresponding author: Wei-Chiang Shen, .
Proinsulin-transferrin (ProINS-Tf) fusion protein was evaluated for its in vivo pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and mechanism. Our previous studies have shown that ProINS-Tf was converted to active insulin-transferrin (INS-Tf) via the transferrin (Tf)-receptor–mediated pathway in hepatoma cells. We hypothesized that this fusion protein can be administered as a prodrug and be converted to a biologically active protein with specificity for the liver versus other insulin (INS)-sensitive tissues (muscle and adipose). Administration as an inactive prodrug with liver-specific action compared with other INS-sensitive tissues conceivably reduces negative side effects seen with other INS analogs. In this report, the data show that ProINS-Tf exhibited a slow, but sustained, in vivo hypoglycemic efficacy and long plasma half-life. The fusion protein showed activity in the liver, as evidenced by decreased expression of two key hepatic glucose production (HGP) enzymes, PEPCK and glucose-6-phosphatase, and increased glycogen levels under feeding conditions. Furthermore, the INS receptor (IR) phosphorylation (activation) in liver and muscle tissues was compared with postinjection of INS or ProINS-Tf. While INS activated IR in both the liver and muscle, ProINS-Tf only showed activation in the liver. Thus, ProINS-Tf fusion protein can potentially be administered as a prodrug with sustained Tf-mediated activation and selectivity in inhibiting HGP.
- Received June 20, 2013.
- Accepted December 8, 2013.
- © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association.
Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.