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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Feb;278(2):E234-43.

Control of glycogen synthesis is shared between glucose transport and glycogen synthase in skeletal muscle fibers.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


The effects of transgenic overexpression of glycogen synthase in different types of fast-twitch muscle fibers were investigated in individual fibers from the anterior tibialis muscle. Glycogen synthase was severalfold higher in all transgenic fibers, although the extent of overexpression was twofold greater in type IIB fibers. Effects of the transgene on increasing glycogen and phosphorylase and on decreasing UDP-glucose were also more pronounced in type IIB fibers. However, in any grouping of fibers having equivalent malate dehydrogenase activity (an index of oxidative potential), glycogen was higher in the transgenic fibers. Thus increasing synthase is sufficient to enhance glycogen accumulation in all types of fast-twitch fibers. Effects on glucose transport and glycogen synthesis were investigated in experiments in which diaphragm, extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and soleus muscles were incubated in vitro. Transport was not increased by the transgene in any of the muscles. The transgene increased basal [(14)C]glucose into glycogen by 2.5-fold in the EDL, which is composed primarily of IIB fibers. The transgene also enhanced insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis in the diaphragm and soleus muscles, which are composed of oxidative fiber types. We conclude that increasing glycogen synthase activity increases the rate of glycogen synthesis in both oxidative and glycolytic fibers, implying that the control of glycogen accumulation by insulin in skeletal muscle is distributed between the glucose transport and glycogen synthase steps.

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