Quaternary Structure of the Insulin-Insulin Receptor Complex

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Science  13 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5430, pp. 1077-1080
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5430.1077

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The three-dimensional (3D) structure of the intrinsically dimeric insulin receptor bound to its ligand, insulin, was determined by electron cryomicroscopy. Gold-labeled insulin served to locate the insulin-binding domain. The 3D structure was then fitted with available known high-resolution domain substructures to obtain a detailed contiguous model for this heterotetrameric transmembrane receptor. The 3D reconstruction indicates that the two α subunits jointly participate in insulin binding and that the kinase domains in the two β subunits are in a juxtaposition that permits autophosphorylation of tyrosine residues in the first step of insulin receptor activation.

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