Deficiency of PDK1 in liver results in glucose intolerance, impairment of insulin-regulated gene expression and liver failure

Biochem J. 2005 Feb 1;385(Pt 3):639-48. doi: 10.1042/BJ20041782.


The liver plays an important role in insulin-regulated glucose homoeostasis. To study the function of the PDK1 (3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1) signalling pathway in mediating insulin's actions in the liver, we employed CRE recombinase/loxP technology to generate L(liver)-PDK1-/- mice, which lack expression of PDK1 in hepatocytes and in which insulin failed to induce activation of PKB in liver. The L-PDK1-/- mice were not insulin-intolerant, possessed normal levels of blood glucose and insulin under normal feeding conditions, but were markedly glucose-intolerant when injected with glucose. The L-PDK1-/- mice also possessed 10-fold lower levels of hepatic glycogen compared with control littermates, and were unable to normalize their blood glucose levels within 2 h after injection of insulin. The glucose intolerance of the L-PDK1-/- mice may be due to an inability of glucose to suppress hepatic glucose output through the gluconeogenic pathway, since the mRNA encoding hepatic PEPCK (phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase), G6Pase (glucose-6-phosphatase) and SREBP1 (sterol-regulatory-element-binding protein 1), which regulate gluconeogenesis, are no longer controlled by feeding. Furthermore, three other insulin-controlled genes, namely IGFBP1 (insulin-like-growth-factor-binding protein-1), IRS2 (insulin receptor substrate 2) and glucokinase, were regulated abnormally by feeding in the liver of PDK1-deficient mice. Finally, the L-PDK1-/- mice died between 4-16 weeks of age due to liver failure. These results establish that the PDK1 signalling pathway plays an important role in regulating glucose homoeostasis and controlling expression of insulin-regulated genes. They suggest that a deficiency of the PDK1 pathway in the liver could contribute to development of diabetes, as well as to liver failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-Phosphoinositide-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Animals
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gluconeogenesis / genetics
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Intolerance*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / enzymology
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Failure / enzymology*
  • Liver Failure / genetics
  • Liver Failure / metabolism
  • Liver Failure / physiopathology*
  • Mice
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / deficiency*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Survival Rate


  • Insulin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • 3-Phosphoinositide-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Pdpk1 protein, mouse
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Glucose