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Biochem J. 2001 Dec 1;360(Pt 2):449-59.

The level of the glycogen targetting regulatory subunit R5 of protein phosphatase 1 is decreased in the livers of insulin-dependent diabetic rats and starved rats.

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MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, School of Life Sciences, MSI/WTB Complex, University of Dundee, Dow Street, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, UK.


Hepatic glycogen synthesis is impaired in insulin-dependent diabetic rats owing to defective activation of glycogen synthase by glycogen-bound protein phosphatase 1 (PP1). The identification of three glycogen-targetting subunits in liver, G(L), R5/PTG and R6, which form complexes with the catalytic subunit of PP1 (PP1c), raises the question of whether some or all of these PP1c complexes are subject to regulation by insulin. In liver lysates of control rats, R5 and R6 complexes with PP1c were found to contribute significantly (16 and 21% respectively) to the phosphorylase phosphatase activity associated with the glycogen-targetting subunits, G(L)-PP1c accounting for the remainder (63%). In liver lysates of insulin-dependent diabetic and of starved rats, the phosphorylase phosphatase activities of the R5 and G(L) complexes with PP1c were shown by specific immunoadsorption assays to be substantially decreased, and the levels of R5 and G(L) were shown by immunoblotting to be much lower than those in control extracts. The phosphorylase phosphatase activity of R6-PP1c and the concentration of R6 protein were unaffected by these treatments. Insulin administration to diabetic rats restored the levels of R5 and G(L) and their associated activities. The regulation of R5 protein levels by insulin was shown to correspond to changes in the level of the mRNA, as has been found for G(L). The in vitro glycogen synthase phosphatase/phosphorylase phosphatase activity ratio of R5-PP1c was lower than that of G(L)-PP1c, suggesting that R5-PP1c may function as a hepatic phosphorylase phosphatase, whereas G(L)-PP1c may be the major hepatic glycogen synthase phosphatase. In hepatic lysates, more than half the R6 was present in the glycogen-free supernatant, suggesting that R6 may have lower affinity for glycogen than R5 and G(L).

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