OGC as a link between mitochondrial function, aging and diabetes

Marco Gallo is using Caenorhabditis elegans (a small worm) as a model organism to determine how mitochondrial 2-oxoglutarate carrier (OGC) affects aging and insulin signalling. He is studying how this protein interacts with the insulin pathway, and how it affects the development and function of mitochondria, which serve as the cell’s energy source. The proposed mechanism by which OGC is involved in the occurrence of diabetes is by modulating insulin signalling (the cascade of molecular events that result in insulin production). A related version of this protein (B0432.4) is also found in C. elegans. In worms, suppression of this protein resulted in a 20 per cent increase in their average and maximum life-span & in changes in the levels of insulin secretion. Gallo’s research aims to identify the mechanisms that mediate the interaction between OGC and insulin signalling. He is addressing this question with work on C. elegans, mouse & human cell lines. This work could shed more light on the changes that occur in the mitochondria and lead to metabolic diseases, with an emphasis on diabetes.