Survey of normal appearing mouse strain which lacks malic enzyme and Nad+-linked glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase: normal pancreatic beta cell function, but abnormal metabolite pattern in skeletal muscle

Mol Cell Biochem. 2001 Apr;220(1-2):117-25. doi: 10.1023/a:1010821821921.


We studied a mouse doubly homozygous for mutations in the genes encoding malic enzyme (EC and cytosolic glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase (EC (cGPD). This mouse, which we call the mmgg mouse and which is the product of intercrosses between the Mod-1 mouse and the BALB/cHeA mouse, lacks activity of both enzymes. Like both parental strains the mmgg mouse is completely normal in appearance. cGPD is one of the two enzymes that catalyze the reactions of the glycerol phosphate shuttle. The activity of the other enzyme of the glycerol phosphate shuttle, mitochondrial glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase (EC (mGPD), is abundant in tissues, such as brain, skeletal muscle and the pancreatic islet, suggesting that the glycerol phosphate shuttle is important in these tissues which rapidly metabolize glucose. Cytosolic malic enzyme activity is important for shuttles which transport NADPH equivalents from mitochondria to the cytosol. The major finding of the study was a highly abnormal metabolite pattern in tissues of the mmgg mouse suggesting a block in the glycerol phosphate shuttle due to cGPD deficiency. The metabolite pattern did not suggest that malic enzyme deficiency caused an abnormality. Tissue levels of glycerol phosphate (low) and dihydroxyacetone phosphate (high) were only abnormal in skeletal muscle. Glycolytic intermediates, situated at or before the triose phosphates in the pathway, such as fructose bisphosphate and glyceraldehyde phosphate were increased depending on the tissue. Taken together with previous extensive data on the mouse deficient only in cGPD, this suggests a block in glycolysis at the step catalyzed by glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase caused by an abnormally low NAD/NADH ratio resulting from a nonfunctional glycerol phosphate shuttle. Consistent with this idea the lactate/pyruvate ratio was high in skeletal muscle signifying a low cytosolic NAD/NADH ratio. The mmgg mouse was normal in all other factors studied including blood glucose and serum insulin levels, pancreatic islet mass, insulin release from isolated pancreatic islets, as well as the activities of five metabolic enzymes, including mGPD, in liver, kidney, skeletal muscle and pancreatic islets. cGPD enzyme activity was undetectable in pancreatic islets, 0.5% of normal in liver, and 2.1% of normal in kidney and skeletal muscle. Malic enzyme activity was undetectable in these same tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Glycerol / blood
  • Glycerol-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (NAD+)
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase / chemistry*
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Homozygote
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / enzymology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Malate Dehydrogenase / chemistry*
  • Malate Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Pancreas / enzymology
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Subcellular Fractions
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Insulin
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase
  • Malate Dehydrogenase
  • malate dehydrogenase-(oxaloacetate-decarboxylating) (NAD+)
  • Glycerol-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (NAD+)
  • Glycerol