Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below

Insulin and the stimulation of glycogen synthesis. The road from glycogen structure to glycogen synthase to cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase to insulin mediators.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville 22908.


The enhanced phosphorylations via cAMP, Ca2+ mobilization, and diacyl glycerol formation via the activation of the respective kinases is now classical. The decreased phosphorylation via inhibition of adenylate cyclase via the alpha adrenergic receptor is also becoming understood. What the insulin studies on the control of glycogen synthesis have taught us is that the rate limiting enzyme glycogen synthase is regulated by multiple covalent phosphorylation in an elegant but complex manner. The overall pattern of dephosphorylation is influenced by effecting both phosphatase and kinase activities in a set of interrelated mechanisms. In the presence of glucose, in muscle, fat, and liver under physiological conditions G-6-P acts as a signal to stimulate the phosphatase. An additional stimulation could occur via a novel insulin phosphatase stimulatory mediator. The phosphatase is also stimulated by at least three covalent mechanisms involving altered phosphorylation state. In one there is a decreased phosphorylation of the phosphatase inhibitor 1 potentially related to decreased cAMP-dependent protein kinase activity. In the second, there is decreased phosphorylation of the deinhibitor also potentially related to decreased cAMP-dependent protein kinase phosphorylation. In the third, an increased activity of casein kinase 2 could activate the ATP-Mg dependent phosphatase by an increased phosphorylation of phosphatase inhibitor 2 (modulatory subunit). In the liver, allosteric control of the phosphatase by G-6-P and nucleotides is of great importance. Insulin also stimulates the phosphatase in long-term experiments via increased protein synthesis. It is clear that future work will be required to determine which species of the various classes of phosphatases are regulated in short-term and long-term regulation by insulin. In terms of kinases, the effects of insulin to inactivate and desensitize the cAMP-dependent protein kinase are established. The molecular mechanisms of this effect remain to be worked out. The enhanced activity of MAP and S-6 kinase would appear to be part of a cascade of reactions perhaps originating in the autophosphorylation and activation of the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase. The mechanism of the short-term activation of casein kinase 2 remains to be elucidated. A cAMP-dependent protein kinase inhibitory mediator, which also inhibits adenylate cyclase is an important element in the regulation of kinase and adenylate cyclase activity by insulin. Its physiological significance must be established in the future, in terms of its control of glycogen synthase activation by insulin. Clearly this kinase inhibitor as well as the phosphatase stimulator are potential regulators of glycogen synthase activity by insulin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center