Conversion of glucose into glycogen is a major pathway that contributes to the removal of glucose from the portal vein by the liver in the postprandial state. It is regulated in part by the increase in blood-glucose concentration in the portal vein, which activates glucokinase, the first enzyme in the pathway, causing an increase in the concentration of glucose 6-P (glucose 6-phosphate), which modulates the phosphorylation state of downstream enzymes by acting synergistically with other allosteric effectors. Glucokinase is regulated by a hierarchy of transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms that are only partially understood. In the fasted state, glucokinase is in part sequestered in the nucleus in an inactive state, complexed to a specific regulatory protein, GKRP (glucokinase regulatory protein). This reserve pool is rapidly mobilized to the cytoplasm in the postprandial state in response to an elevated concentration of glucose. The translocation of glucokinase between the nucleus and cytoplasm is modulated by various metabolic and hormonal conditions. The elevated glucose 6-P concentration, consequent to glucokinase activation, has a synergistic effect with glucose in promoting dephosphorylation (inactivation) of glycogen phosphorylase and inducing dephosphorylation (activation) of glycogen synthase. The latter involves both a direct ligand-induced conformational change and depletion of the phosphorylated form of glycogen phosphorylase, which is a potent allosteric inhibitor of glycogen synthase phosphatase activity associated with the glycogen-targeting protein, GL [hepatic glycogen-targeting subunit of PP-1 (protein phosphatase-1) encoded by PPP1R3B]. Defects in both the activation of glucokinase and in the dephosphorylation of glycogen phosphorylase are potential contributing factors to the dysregulation of hepatic glucose metabolism in Type 2 diabetes.

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