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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Feb;286(2):E194-200. Epub 2003 Oct 14.

Expression profiling of the gamma-subunit isoforms of AMP-activated protein kinase suggests a major role for gamma3 in white skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Arexis AB, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

Expression patterns of the three isoforms of the regulatory gamma-subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) were determined in various tissues from adult humans, mice, and rats, as well as in human primary muscle cells. Real-time PCR-based quantification of mRNA showed similar expression patterns in the three species and a good correlation with protein expression in mice and rats. The gamma3-isoform appeared highly specific to skeletal muscle, whereas gamma1 and gamma2 showed broad tissue distributions. Moreover, the proportion of white, type IIb fibers in the mouse and rat muscle samples, as indicated by real-time PCR quantification of Atp1b2 mRNA, showed a strong positive correlation with the expression of gamma3. In samples of white skeletal muscle, gamma3 clearly appeared to be the most abundant gamma-isoform. Differentiation of human primary muscle cells from myoblasts into multinucleated myotubes was accompanied by upregulation of gamma3 mRNA expression, whereas levels of gamma1 and gamma2 remained largely unchanged. However, even in these cultured myotubes, gamma2 was the most highly expressed isoform, indicating a considerable difference compared with adult skeletal muscle. Immunoblot analysis of mouse gastrocnemius and quadriceps muscle extracts precipitated with a gamma3-specific antibody showed that gamma3 was exclusively associated with the alpha2- and beta2-subunit isoforms. The observation that the AMPKgamma3 isoform is expressed primarily in white skeletal muscle, in which it is the predominant gamma-isoform, strongly suggests that gamma3 has a key role in this tissue.

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