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Presenter Profile: Taking a Closer Look—Subcellular Approaches to Islet Biology


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2024 Presenter Profiles

Taking a Closer Look—Subcellular Approaches to Islet Biology

Friday, June 21, at 3:45 p.m. ET
Room W206
Orange County Convention Center

Contributions of the Microtubule Cytoskeleton to Beta-Cell Biology

Irina Kaverina, PhD
Irina Kaverina, PhD

Irina Kaverina, PhD

Vanderbilt University

What is your presentation about?
To avoid pathological effects of hypo- or hyperinsulinemia, a correct number of secretion-competent insulin granules must be positioned to the secretion sites at the periphery of pancreatic Beta-cells. We and others have previously shown that cytoskeletal filament microtubules tune glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) by coordinating the intracellular transport of insulin granules both toward and away from the secretion sites. This transport of insulin granules is driven by molecular motors that move along microtubule tracks and depends on the microtubule network configuration. I will present our new findings on unique features and glucose-dependent regulation of microtubule networks, which contribute to GSIS efficiency and functional heterogeneity of Beta-cells.

How do you hope your presentation will impact diabetes research or care?
Our findings directly contribute to understanding how a pancreatic Beta-cell responds to glucose for the optimal outcome and how Beta-cell fitness is maintained in organisms. These studies will have an immediate impact on diabetes research and a potential impact on developing new therapeutic and diagnostic tools in the future.

How did you become involved with this area of diabetes research or care?
I am an expert in microtubule biology and high-end microscopy. Over a decade ago, my laboratory found that the role of microtubules in Beta-cells was understudied and that microtubules in these cells have a unique organization and a fascinating metabolic regulation. This became my new scientific passion, and since then we have studied pancreatic Beta-cells in collaboration with Dr. Guoqiang Gu at the Diabetes Research and Training Center at Vanderbilt.

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