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Regulation of Glucokinase Activity in Liver of Hibernating Ground Squirrel Spermophilus undulatus

L. Ya. Khu1, K. B. Storey2, A. M. Rubtsov1, and N. Yu. Goncharova1*

1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 939-3955; E-mail: nyugoncharova@mail.ru

2Institute of Biochemistry, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Canada K1S 5B6; fax: (613) 520-2569; E-mail: kenneth_storey@carleton.ca

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received February 26, 2014
The kinetic properties of glucokinase (GLK) from the liver of active and hibernating ground squirrels Spermophilus undulatus have been studied. Entrance of ground squirrels into hibernation from their active state is accompanied by a sharp decrease in blood glucose (Glc) level (from 14 to 2.9 mM) and with a significant (7-fold) decrease of GLK activity in the liver cytoplasm. Preparations of native GLK practically devoid of other molecular forms of hexokinase were obtained from the liver of active and hibernating ground squirrels. The dependence of GLK activity upon Glc concentration for the enzyme from active ground squirrel liver showed a pronounced sigmoid character (Hill coefficient, h = 1.70 and S0.5 = 6.23 mM; the experiments were conducted at 25°C in the presence of enzyme stabilizers, K+ and DTT). The same dependence of enzyme activity on Glc concentration was found for GLK from rat liver. However, on decreasing the temperature to 2°C (simulation of hibernation conditions), this dependency became almost hyperbolic (h = 1.16) and GLK affinity for substrate was reduced (S0.5 = 23 mM). These parameters for hibernating ground squirrels (body temperature 5°C) at 25°C were found to be practically equal to the corresponding values obtained for GLK from the liver of active animals (h = 1.60, S0.5 = 9.0 mM, respectively); at 2oC sigmoid character was less expressed and affinity for Glc was drastically decreased (h = 1.20, S0.5 = 45 mM). The calculations of GLK activity in the liver of hibernating ground squirrels based on enzyme kinetic characteristics and seasonal changes in blood Glc concentrations have shown that GLK activity in the liver of hibernating ground squirrels is decreased about 5500-fold.
KEY WORDS: glucokinase, hexokinase, cooperative properties, hibernation, ground squirrel Spermophilus undulatus

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297914070141