Novel four-disulfide insulin analog with high aggregation stability and potency

Chem Sci. 2019 Nov 5;11(1):195-200. doi: 10.1039/c9sc04555d. eCollection 2020 Jan 7.


Although insulin was first purified and used therapeutically almost a century ago, there is still a need to improve therapeutic efficacy and patient convenience. A key challenge is the requirement for refrigeration to avoid inactivation of insulin by aggregation/fibrillation. Here, in an effort to mitigate this problem, we introduced a 4th disulfide bond between a C-terminal extended insulin A chain and residues near the C-terminus of the B chain. Insulin activity was retained by an analog with an additional disulfide bond between residues A22 and B22, while other linkages tested resulted in much reduced potency. Furthermore, the A22-B22 analog maintains the native insulin tertiary structure as demonstrated by X-ray crystal structure determination. We further demonstrate that this four-disulfide analog has similar in vivo potency in mice compared to native insulin and demonstrates higher aggregation stability. In conclusion, we have discovered a novel four-disulfide insulin analog with high aggregation stability and potency.