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J Biol Chem. 2000 Dec 22;275(51):39991-5.

Overexpression of protein targeting to glycogen in cultured human muscle cells stimulates glycogen synthesis independent of glycogen and glucose 6-phosphate levels.

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Departament de Bioquimica i Biologia Molecular, Universitat de Barcelona, Marti i Franquès, 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


There is growing evidence that glycogen targeting subunits of protein phosphatase-1 play a critical role in regulation of glycogen metabolism. In the current study, we have investigated the effects of adenovirus-mediated overexpression of a specific glycogen targeting subunit known as protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) in cultured human muscle cells. PTG was overexpressed both in muscle cells cultured at high glucose (glycogen replete) or in cells incubated for 18 h in the absence of glucose and then incubated in high glucose (glycogen re-synthesizing). In both glycogen replete and glycogen resynthesizing cells, PTG overexpression caused glycogen to be synthesized at a linear rate 1-5 days after viral treatment, while in cells treated with a virus lacking a cDNA insert (control virus), glycogen content reached a plateau at day 1 with no further increase. In the glycogen replete PTG overexpressing cells, glycogen content was 20 times that in controls at day 5. Furthermore, in cells undergoing glycogen resynthesis, PTG overexpression caused a doubling of the initial rate of glycogen synthesis over the first 24 h relative to cells treated with control virus. In both sets of experiments, the effects of PTG on glycogen synthesis were correlated with a 2-3-fold increase in glycogen synthase activity state, with no changes in glycogen phosphorylase activity. The alterations in glycogen synthase activity were not accompanied by changes in the intracellular concentration of glucose 6-phosphate. We conclude that PTG overexpression activates glycogen synthesis in a glucose 6-phosphate-independent manner in human muscle cells while overriding glycogen-mediated inhibition. Our findings suggest that modulation of PTG expression in muscle may be a mechanism for enhancing muscle glucose disposal and improving glucose tolerance in diabetes.

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