The role of glucose 6-P (glucose 6-phosphate) in regulating the activation state of glycogen synthase and its translocation is well documented. In the present study, we investigated the effects of glucose 6-P on the activation state and compartmentation of phosphorylase in hepatocytes. Glucose 6-P levels were modulated in hepatocytes by glucokinase overexpression or inhibition with 5-thioglucose and the effects of AMP were tested using AICAR (5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide 1-β-d-ribofuranoside), which is metabolized to an AMP analogue. Inhibition of glucokinase partially counteracted the effect of glucose both on the inactivation of phosphorylase and on the translocation of phosphorylase a from a soluble to a particulate fraction. The increase in glucose 6-P caused by glucokinase overexpression caused translocation of phosphorylase a to the pellet and had additive effects with glucose on inactivation of phosphorylase. It decreased the glucose concentration that caused half-maximal inactivation from 20 to 11 mM, indicating that it acts synergistically with glucose. AICAR activated phosphorylase and counteracted the effect of glucose 6-P on phosphorylase inactivation. However, it did not counteract translocation of phosphorylase by glucose 6-P. Glucose 6-P and AICAR had opposite effects on the activation state of glycogen synthase, but they had additive effects on translocation of the enzyme to the pellet. There was a direct correlation between the translocation of phosphorylase a and of glycogen synthase to the pellet, suggesting that these enzymes translocate in tandem. In conclusion, glucose 6-P causes both translocation of phosphorylase and inactivation, indicating a more complex role in the regulation of glycogen metabolism than can be explained from regulation of glycogen synthase alone.

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