Phosphorylation of human glutamine:fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase by cAMP-dependent protein kinase at serine 205 blocks the enzyme activity

Academic Article


  • Glutamine:fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase (GFAT) is the rate-limiting enzyme in glucosamine synthesis. Prior studies from our laboratory indicated that activation of adenylate cyclase was associated with depletion of O-GlcNAc modification. This finding and evidence that human GFAT (hGFAT) might be regulated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) led us to investigate the role of PKA in hGFAT function. We confirmed that adenylate cyclase activation by forskolin results in diminished O-GlcNAc modification of several cellular proteins which can be overcome by exposure of the cells to glucosamine but not glucose, suggesting the PKA activation results in depletion of UDP-GlcNAc for O-glycosylation. To determine if GFAT is indeed regulated by PKA, we expressed the active form of the enzyme using a vaccinia virus expression system and showed that the activity of the enzyme was to decrease to undetectable levels by PKA phosphorylation. We mapped the PKA phosphorylation sites with the aid of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectroscopy and showed that the protein was stoichiometrically phosphorylated at serine 205 and also phosphorylated, to a lesser extent at serine 235. Mutagenesis studies indicated that the phosphorylation of serine 205 by PKA was necessary for the observed inhibition of enzyme activity while serine 235 phosphorylation played no observable role. The activity of GFAT is down-regulated by cAMP, thus placing regulation on the hexosamine pathway that is in concert with the energy requirements of the organism. During starvation, hormones acting through adenylate cyclase could direct the flux of glucose metabolism into energy production rather than into synthetic pathways that require hexosamines.
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    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Chang Q; Su K; Baker JR; Yang X; Paterson AJ; Kudlow JE
  • Start Page

  • 21981
  • End Page

  • 21987
  • Volume

  • 275
  • Issue

  • 29