Research Initiation Award: Probing inter-compartmental cross-talk between redox and amylin signaling networks
Research Initiation Awards provide support for junior and mid-career faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are building new research programs or redirecting and rebuilding existing programs. It is expected that the award helps to further the faculty member's research capability and effectiveness, improves research and teaching at the home institution, and involves undergraduate students in research experiences. The award to Spelman College has potential broader impact in a number of areas and will assist in building its research capacity and enhance the educational and research experiences of underrepresented students. This study seeks to understand beta-cell death, a process that has been suggested to occur partially as a result of an increase in amylin, a protein that is co-secreted from beta-cells. A broader understanding of the role of amylin and UCP2 will contribute to understanding how cells communicate so that they can maintain a healthy cell status.
The objective of this project is to clarify the role of Uncoupling Protein 2 (UCP2) in beta-cells, which are cells known for secreting insulin. Although the secretion of amylin is not often discussed when describing beta-cells, amylin has been shown to be co-secreted with insulin. The role of amylin in negatively impacting beta-cell function has recently been described. UCP2 is known for decreasing the number of oxygen radicals resulting from a metabolic process, which suggests that UCP2 may work to keep beta-cells healthy since a high number of oxygen radicals can lead to poor cell function. This project will investigate the influence of UCP2 on amylin's function, thereby affecting the role that amylin plays in beta-cells. In addition, the project examines the influence of UCP2 on amylin in neuronal cells, which are cells that have also been shown to have increased levels of amylin.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.