American Chemical Society
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Reversible Insulin Hexamer Assembly Promoted by Ethyl Violet: pH-Controlled Uptake and Release

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-09-23, 00:00 authored by Jyotirmayee Mohanty, Meenakshi N. Shinde, Nilotpal Barooah, Achikanath C. Bhasikuttan
Therapeutically improved long-acting insulin preparations require in-depth understanding of the hexamer assembly, structural selectivity, and its stability in solution. This Letter demonstrates, for the first time, an efficient method for the hexamerization of human insulin by a structure-specific triphenylmethane (TPM) dye, Ethyl Violet (EV), particularly, in the absence of Zn2+. Upon detailed spectroscopic evaluation and comparison with other TPM homologues, we establish that the diethylamino phenyl arms of EV are specific and effective in clipping the three dimer helices in a hexameric assembly. We establish that at physiological pH 7.4 and in the presence of the EV, insulin exists predominantly in its hexameric form, a condition appropriate for storage and preparation of long-acting insulin formulations. On the other hand, the disassembly of the hexamer into the monomeric form is accomplished at pH 5, highlighting its potential as a delivery vehicle for such custom-modified dyes/drugs.