Glycogen synthase activation by sugars in isolated hepatocytes

Carlos J. Ciudad, Assumpta Carabaza, Fàtima Bosch, Anna Maria Gòmez I Foix, Joan J. Guinovart

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21 Citations (Scopus)


We have investigated the activation by sugars of glycogen synthase in relation to (i) phosphorylase a activity and (ii) changes in the intracellular concentration of glucose 6-phosphate and adenine nucleotides. All the sugars tested in this work present the common denominator of activating glycogen synthase. On the other hand, phosphorylase a activity is decreased by mannose and glucose, unchanged by galactose and xylitol, and increased by tagatose, glyceraldehyde, and fructose. Dihydroxyacetone exerts a biphasic effect on phosphorylase. These findings provide additional evidence proving that glycogen synthase can be activated regardless of the levels of phosphorylase a, clearly establishing that a nonsequential mechanism for the activation of glycogen synthase occurs in liver cells. The glycogen synthase activation state is related to the concentrations of glucose 6-phosphate and adenine nucleotides. In this respect, tagatose, glyceraldehyde, and fructose deplete ATP and increase AMP contents, whereas glucose, mannose, galactose, xylitol, and dihydroxyacetone do not alter the concentration of these nucleotides. In addition, all these sugars, except glyceraldehyde, increase the intracellular content of glucose 6-phosphate. The activation of glycogen synthase by sugars is reflected in decreases on both kinetic constants of the enzyme, M0.5 (for glucose 6-phosphate) and S0.5 (for UDP-glucose). We propose that hepatocyte glycogen synthase is activated by monosaccharides by a mechanism triggered by changes in glucose 6-phosphate and adenine nucleotide concentrations which have been described to modify glycogen synthase phosphatase activity. This mechanism represents a metabolite control of the sugar-induced activation of hepatocyte glycogen synthase. © 1988.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988


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