Insulin Insight

The function of insulin in mammalian cell culture

The function of insulin in mammalian cell culture

Author: Karina Kristensen, M.Sc. Cell Biology, Novo Nordisk Pharmatech A/S

This article explores how insulin works in mammalian cell culture in order to understand its actions in mammalian cell bio-production it is important to know that the action of insulin in mammalian cell culture is primarily through the binding and activation of IGF-1R. Insulin and the related insulin-like growth factors IGF-I and IGF-II act on cells through binding to specific receptors.

Insulin is a 5,8kD protein hormone secreted in vivoby the b-cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans (1). Insulin and the related insulin-like growth factors IGF-I and IGF-II act on cells through binding to specific receptors, the insulin receptor (IR) (1,2) and the type 1 IGF receptor (IGF-1R) (3,4), two highly homologous dimeric transmembrane glycoproteins that are part of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family. Insulin and IGF-I have high affinity (0,1-0.2 nM) for their cognate receptor but can bind at high concentration with a 100-500 lesser affinity to the noncognate receptor.

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