As an adaptation for overwinter survival, the wood frog, Rana sylvatica is able to tolerate the freezing of extracellular body fluids. Tolerance is made possible by the production of very high amounts of glucose in liver which is then sent to other organs where it acts as a cryoprotectant. Cryoprotectant synthesis is under the control of glycogen phosphorylase which in turn is activated in response to ice formation. To determine the mechanism of phosphorylase activation, a quantitative analysis of phosphorylase protein concentration and enzymatic activity in liver was carried out following separation of the phosphorylated a and nonphosphorylated b forms of the enzyme on native polyacrylamide gels. The results suggest that in gels, the b form is completely inactive, even in the presence of AMP and sodium sulfate, whereas the a form is active and stimulated 3-fold by these substances. Further, phosphorylase activation appears to arise solely from conversion of the b to a form of the enzyme without an increase in phosphorylase concentration or activation of a second isozyme. The quantitative analysis presented here should prove generally useful as a simple and rapid method for examining the physiological and genetic regulation of phosphorylase in animal cells.

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Keywords Cryoprotection, Electrophoretic analysis (R. sylvatica liver), Freeze tolerance, Glycogen phosphorylase activation
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Journal BBA - Molecular Cell Research
Crerar, M.M. (Michael M.), David, E.S. (Emina S.), & Storey, K. (1988). Electrophoretic analysis of liver glycogen phosphorylase activation in the freeze-tolerant wood frog. BBA - Molecular Cell Research, 971(1), 72–84. doi:10.1016/0167-4889(88)90163-2