The role of glycogen synthase kinase 3β in insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism

Scott A. Summers, Aimee W. Kao, Aimee D. Kohn, Gillian S. Backus, Richard A. Roth, Jeffrey E. Pessin, Morris J. Birnbaum

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197 Scopus citations


To characterize the contribution of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) inactivation to insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism, wild-type (WT-GSK), catalytically inactive (KM-GSK), and uninhibitable (S9A-GSK) forms of GSK3β were expressed in insulin-responsive 3T3-L1 adipocytes using adenovirus technology. WT-GSK, but not KM-GSK, reduced basal and insulin- stimulated glycogen synthase activity without affecting the -fold stimulation of the enzyme by insulin. S9A-GSK similarly decreased cellular glycogen synthase activity, but also partially blocked insulin stimulation of the enzyme. S9A-GSK expression also markedly inhibited insulin stimulation of IRS-1-associated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity, but only weakly inhibited insulin-stimulated Akt/PKB phosphorylation and glucose uptake, with no effect on GLUT4 translocation. To further evaluate the role of GSK3β in insulin signaling, the GSK3β inhibitor lithium was used to mimic the consequences of insulin-stimulated GSK3β inactivation. Although lithium stimulated the incorporation of glucose into glycogen and glycogen synthase enzyme activity, the inhibitor was without effect on GLUT4 translocation and pp70 S6 kinase. Lithium stimulation of glycogen synthesis was insensitive to wortmannin, which is consistent with its acting directly on GSK3β downstream of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. These data support the hypothesis that GSK3β contributes to insulin regulation of glycogen synthesis, but is not responsible for the increase in glucose transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17934-17940
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 18 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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