Indexed on: 28 Apr '06Published on: 28 Apr '06Published in: American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a heterotrimeric complex that works as an energy sensor to integrate nutritional and hormonal signals. The naturally occurring R225Q mutation in the gamma3-subunit in pigs is associated with abnormally high glycogen content in skeletal muscle. Because skeletal muscle accounts for most of the body's glucose uptake, and gamma3 is specifically expressed in skeletal muscle, it is important to understand the underlying mechanism of this mutation in regulating glucose and glycogen metabolism. Using skeletal muscle-specific transgenic mice overexpressing wild type gamma3 (WTgamma3) and R225Q mutant gamma3 (MUTgamma3), we show that both WTgamma3 and MUTgamma3 mice have 1.5- to 2-fold increases in muscle glycogen content. In WTgamma3 mice, increased glycogen content was associated with elevated total glycogen synthase activity and reduced glycogen phosphorylase activity, whereas alterations in activities of these enzymes could not explain elevated glycogen in MUTgamma3 mice. Basal, 5-aminoimidazole-AICAR- and phenformin-stimulated AMPKalpha2 isoform-specific activities were decreased only in MUTgamma3 mice. Basal rates of 2-DG glucose uptake were decreased in both WTgamma3 and MUTgamma3 mice. However, AICAR- and phenformin-stimulated 2-DG glucose uptake were blunted only in MUTgamma3 mice. In conclusion, expression of either wild type or mutant gamma3-subunit of AMPK results in increased glycogen concentrations in muscle, but the mechanisms underlying this alteration appear to be different. Furthermore, mutation of the gamma3-subunit is associated with decreases in AMPKalpha2 isoform-specific activity and impairment in AICAR- and phenformin-stimulated skeletal muscle glucose uptake.