Progress in Simulation Studies of Insulin Structure and Function.

Academic Article


  • Insulin is a peptide hormone known for chiefly regulating glucose level in blood among several other metabolic processes. Insulin remains the most effective drug for treating diabetes mellitus. Insulin is synthesized in the pancreatic β-cells where it exists in a compact hexameric architecture although its biologically active form is monomeric. Insulin exhibits a sequence of conformational variations during the transition from the hexamer state to its biologically-active monomer state. The structural transitions and the mechanism of action of insulin have been investigated using several experimental and computational methods. This review primarily highlights the contributions of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in elucidating the atomic-level details of conformational dynamics in insulin, where the structure of the hormone has been probed as a monomer, dimer, and hexamer. The effect of solvent, pH, temperature, and pressure have been probed at the microscopic scale. Given the focus of this review on the structure of the hormone, simulation studies involving interactions between the hormone and its receptor are only briefly highlighted, and studies on other related peptides (e.g., insulin-like growth factors) are not discussed. However, the review highlights conformational dynamics underlying the activities of reported insulin analogs and mimetics. The future prospects for computational methods in developing promising synthetic insulin analogs are also briefly highlighted.
  • Authors

  • Gorai, Biswajit
  • Vashisth, Harish
  • Publication Date

  • 2022
  • Published In


  • Insulin
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells
  • computer simulation
  • diabetes
  • hormone
  • insulin
  • insulin receptor
  • molecular dynamics
  • peptide
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 908724
  • Volume

  • 13