The role of assembly in insulin's biosynthesis

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 1998 Apr;8(2):189-94. doi: 10.1016/s0959-440x(98)80037-7.


Insulin is synthesised as a single-chain precursor, preproinsulin, that contains an N-terminal signal sequence and a connecting peptide linking the A and B chains of the insulin molecule. Nascent proinsulin is directed into the regulated secretory pathway, converted to insulin and stored as microcrystals. These processes exploit assembly to the zinc-containing hexamer. Structural, chemical and genetic studies, and experiments with transgenic animals and transfected cells are providing new details about the molecular events in insulin's biosynthesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / biosynthesis*
  • Insulin / chemistry*
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Proinsulin / biosynthesis
  • Protein Conformation
  • Ribosomes / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • Proinsulin