Ling Yang receives a new Research Grant from the American Diabetes Association.

Ling Yang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology and member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center was recently awarded a Research Grant from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The project entitled: Mechanisms underlying nitrosylation-mediated dysregulation of hepatic autophagy in obesity will be supported by the $345,000 award over the next three years. Dr. Yang’s laboratory made the observation that a fundamental cellular process known as autophagy is dysregulated in the livers of animals with obesity and insulin resistance. Autophagy is a process by which cells recycle damaged structures and organelles and if this process is perturbed, then tissue damage is increased. Of note, the discovery of autophagy by Yoshinori Ohsumi from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, earned him the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016. Specifically, Dr. Yang has discovered that an enzyme known as inducible nitric oxide synthase is activated in obesity and insulin resistant states leading to overproduction of nitric oxide, which damages proteins involved in autophagy by increasing their incorporation of a nitric oxide derivative known as S-nitrosylation. Dr. Yang will study if increasing the activity of enzyme S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR) which removes these nitric oxide modifications on autophagy proteins, will lead to improvement of insulin resistance and prevent other complications of diabetes such as fatty liver disease.  Congratulations to Ling on this outstanding achievement!

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