Transcriptional and Post-Transcriptional Effects of Glucose on Liver Phosphoenolpyruvate-Carboxykinase Gene Expression

Eur J Biochem. 1991 Dec 18;202(3):985-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1991.tb16460.x.


The present study investigates the effect of glucose on the gene expression of the hepatic glucoregulatory enzyme, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PPrvck). By use of hepatocytes in culture and FAO hepatoma cells it could be demonstrated that glucose suppressed the effect of dibutyryl cyclic AMP (Bt2cAMP), glucocorticoids or both, to increase PPrvck mRNA and consequently PPrvck enzyme activity. Glucose had a dual effect; it reduced PPrvck gene transcription and it accelerated the rate of PPrvck mRNA degradation. The effect was specific for glucose, as glucose-related carbohydrates such as mannose, galactose and sorbitol were without effect on PPrvck mRNA. The repressive effect of glucose was limited to certain proteins; glucose had no effect on Bt2cAMP and glucocorticoid provoked induction of tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT). Also the pattern of mRNA in vitro translation products was virtually unaffected when FAO hepatoma cells were incubated either in the presence or absence of glucose, demonstrating the specificity of the effect of glucose on gene expression of selected proteins. In FAO hepatoma cells and in hepatocytes in culture, insulin, like glucose, also decreased PPrvck mRNA. While the effect of glucose and insulin was additive in FAO hepatoma cells, in primary hepatocytes in culture an effect of glucose by itself on PPrvck mRNA could only be demonstrated in the absence of insulin. Correspondingly also in vivo, the effect of glucose was demonstrated in the absence of insulin (provoked by streptozotocin diabetes); glucose application reduced the amount of hepatic PPrvck mRNA. To summarize, glucose is capable of suppressing the effect of glucocorticoids and Bt2cAMP on increasing the PPrvck mRNA level. The carbohydrate reduces the rate of PPrvck gene transcription and accelerates the rate of PPrvck mRNA degradation. While in FAO hepatoma cells the effect is evident in the presence of insulin, in hepatocytes in culture the effect of glucose cannot be demonstrated in the presence of insulin, questioning its role under physiological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bucladesine / pharmacology
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / enzymology
  • Male
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (GTP) / biosynthesis
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (GTP) / genetics*
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional / drug effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*


  • Insulin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Bucladesine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (GTP)
  • Glucose