Kinetics of insulin - insulin receptor interaction using a surface plasmon resonance (SPR)
Thesis DisciplineChemical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Type 2 diabetes or adult onset diabetes, has been a global epidemic for the past two decades, and the number of new cases accelerates every year. Insulin resistance is one of the major factors behind this, wherein the insulin receptor, which signals to regulate glucose levels, based on the hormone insulin, loses its sensitivity. Obesity is one other major concern which is caused due to the improper balance between the caloric intake and the energy utilized. Gastric bypass surgeries (GBP) are performed to avert obesity. However, a beneficial side-effect is that the state of insulin resistance is reset to near baseline levels within a few days after the procedure. The reason behind this remains unexplained, with possible humoral effects, hypothesized to occur after the bariatric procedure. In this work, high-five insect cell line was utilized to recombinantly produce full length insulin receptors (IR). However commercially sourced IR ectodomains (eIR – soluble version of the full length IR with the completely extracellular α subunits along with extracellular and transmembrane regions of the β subunit), were used to study the interaction. Measuring the kinetics of IR-insulin interactions is critical to improving our understanding of this disease. In this study, a multiplex surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assay was developed for studying the interaction between insulin and the eIR. A scaffold approach was used in which anti-insulin receptor monoclonal antibody 83–7 (Abcam, Cambridge, UK) was first immobilized on the SPR sensorchip by amine coupling, followed by eIR capture. The multiplex SPR system (ProteOn XPR36TM, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, CA) enabled measurement of replicate interactions with a single, parallel set of analyte injections, whereas repeated regeneration of the scaffold between measurements caused variable loss of antibody activity. The main approach was to replicate the physiological IR-insulin interaction using this assay. It was also observed that insulin at higher concentrations tend to form dimers and hexamers in solution. This was tested using size exclusion chromatography analysis and proved to be true. Therefore an alternative analyte with the similar binding properties and affinity of insulin and at the same time with reduced self- association characteristics was explored. Lispro, the analogue of insulin with reduced self-association properties (generated by swapping of residue 28 and 29 with Lys and Pro respectively) was finally used to study the interaction with eIR. Interactions between recombinant human insulin with eIR-A (A isoform of the insulin receptor ectodomain) followed a two-site binding pattern (consistent with the literature), with a high-affinity site (dissociation constant KD1 = 38.1 ± 0.9 nM) and a low-affinity site (KD2 = 166.3 ± 7.3 nM). The predominantly monomeric insulin analogue Lispro had corresponding dissociation constants KD1 =73.2 ± 1.8 nM and KD2 =148.9 ± 6.1 nM, but the fit to kinetic data was improved when conformational change factor was included in which the high-affinity site was converted to the low-affinity site. Kinetics of interaction of insulin with eIR-A and eIR-B isoforms were then compared. eIR-A bound insulin with apparently higher affinity (with both the binding sites) when compared with eIR-B. This was again consistent with literature that IR-A had two-fold higher affinity for binding insulin than IR-B. The assay was further extended to study the effect of external factors such as glucose, visfatin on this interaction. Glucose (the main biomolecule which is regulated by the IR-insulin interaction) was tested, if it had any direct effect on the interaction. It was observed that glucose did not have any effect on eIR-insulin interactions. Visfatin, an adipocytokine which has been highly debated in literature for its insulin mimetic effects and IR binding properties, was then tested. The standard assay did not provide much insights as the reference channel immobilized with 83-7 monoclonal antibody to the receptor had much affinity for visfatin, leading to non-specific binding and negative responses. Therefore, in an alternative methodology was used - visfatin, Lispro and insulin were immobilized on separate channels along with bovine serum albumin immobilized on reference channel and eIR isoforms used as analyte to study the effect of visfatin on IR. This study showed that visfatin, a higher molecular weight protein compared to insulin, bound both the eIR isoforms. This is consistent with literature that visfatin binds IR at a site distinct from insulin, but the assay described here could not confirm the fact that it mimicked the signalling carried out by IR-insulin binding. Further studies are required to interpret the kinetics of visfatin-eIR interaction. To my knowledge, this is the first SPR assay developed to study eIR-insulin interactions in real-time. This could potentially be extended to study the interaction of insulin with full length insulin receptors and the effect of humoral and other external factors on the interaction, without the need for insulin labelling.