Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (G3PDH) bridges carbohydrate and lipid metabolism by interconverting glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) and dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP). This reversible reaction converts G3P derived from triglyceride hydrolysis to DHAP that can then enter glycolysis or gluconeogenesis and, in the reverse reaction, makes G3P for use in triglyceride biosynthesis. Small hibernating mammals rely almost exclusively on triglyceride reserves as their fuel for energy production during torpor and the recovery of glycerol after lipolysis is an important source of carbohydrate over the nonfeeding winter months. G3PDH (∼37 kDa) was purified from skeletal muscle of euthermic and hibernating Richardson's ground squirrels (Urocitellus richardsonii) using three column chromatography steps. Analysis of enzyme kinetic properties revealed that G3PDH from hibernator muscle had higher affinities for G3P and NAD at low (5 °C) assay temperature compared with high (21 or 37 °C) and a greater stability in the presence of denaturing agents (urea, guanidine hydrochloride) or high temperature (50 °C). Immunoblotting showed that hibernator muscle G3PDH had a higher phosphoserine content than the enzyme from euthermic controls and incubation studies showed that enzyme affinity for G3P changed significantly by stimulating endogenous protein kinases or phosphatases. Overall, this study suggests that the properties of ground squirrel muscle G3PDH are modulated by temperature and post-translational phosphorylation to alter enzyme function under euthermic versus hibernating states.

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Keywords Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, Hibernation, Muscle, Richardson's ground squirrel, Serine phosphorylation
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Journal Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Ruberto, A.A. (Anthony A.), Logan, S.M. (Samantha M.), & Storey, K. (2019). Temperature and serine phosphorylation regulate glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase in skeletal muscle of hibernating Richardson's ground squirrels. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 97(2), 148–157. doi:10.1139/bcb-2018-0198