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Diabetes. 1990 Jun;39(6):707-11.

Decreased Ca2(+)-ATPase activity after glycosylation of erythrocyte membranes in vivo and in vitro.

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Institute of Chemistry and Biophysical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Buenos Aires University, Argentina.


Erythrocyte membranes drawn from diabetic patients with poor metabolic control have increased protein glycosylation and decreased Ca2(+)-ATPase activity. A significant relationship was found between these two parameters. Similar results were obtained when protein glycosylation and Ca2(+)-ATPase activity were measured in membranes from normal erythrocytes preincubated with glucose. In this condition, both parameters showed a clear time and dose dependence. Incubation of erythrocyte membranes instead of intact erythrocytes with glucose and glucose-6-phosphate strongly suggests that only the glycosylation of the membrane inner-surface proteins can affect Ca2(+)-ATPase activity. The simultaneous presence of 10 mM glucose and 5 mM ATP in the incubation medium did not affect the degree of erythrocyte membrane protein glycosylation but significantly blocked the inhibitory effect of glucose on Ca2(+)-ATPase activity. However, 5 mM ATP only partially blocked the inhibitory effect of 100 mM glucose, suggesting a competitive mechanism of glucose and ATP for the enzyme active site. Our results show that glycosylation of erythrocyte membrane proteins significantly inhibits Ca2(+)-ATPase activity. This effect could contribute to the development of the capillary closure process observed in diabetic patients. Furthermore, it could represent an index of a general impairment of enzyme function arising in cells chronically exposed to high glucose levels.

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