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J Cell Biochem. 1992 Feb;48(2):115-21.

Tissue-specific regulation of glucokinase gene expression.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, Tennessee 37232.


Glucokinase contributes to the maintenance of blood glucose homeostasis by catalyzing the high Km phosphorylation of glucose in the liver and the pancreatic beta cell, the only two tissues known to express this enzyme. Molecular biological studies of the glucokinase gene and its products have advanced our understanding of how this gene is differentially regulated in the liver and beta cell. The production of an active glucokinase isoform is determined by both transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. Two different promoter regions that are widely separated in a single glucokinase gene are used to produce glucokinase mRNAs in the liver, pancreatic beta cell, and pituitary. The different transcription control regions are tissue-specific in their expression and are differentially regulated. In liver, glucokinase gene expression is regulated by insulin and cAMP, whereas in the beta cell it is regulated by glucose. The upstream glucokinase promoter region, which gives rise to the glucokinase mRNA in pituitary and pancreas, is structurally and functionally different from the downstream promoter region, which gives rise to the glucokinase mRNA in liver. The use of distinct promoter regions in a single glucokinase gene enables a different set of transcription factors to be utilized in the liver and islet, thus allowing a functionally similar gene product to be regulated in a manner consistent with the different functions of these two tissues. In addition, the splicing of the glucokinase pre-mRNA is regulated in a tissue-specific manner and can affect the activity of the gene product.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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