The overall goal of this proposal is to understand the structural and functional properties of the enzymes responsible for the synthesis and elongation of the glucose storage polymer, glycogen. Glycogen is an important storage reserve of glucose and the mechanism by which the synthesis of glycogen is initiated and elongated is conserved from yeast to humans. Our recent structural work on yeast glycogen synthase has provided important new insight into the functional properties of all eukaryotic enzymes. The long-range goal of this proposal is to build off this initial work to delineate the structural context for the reaction catalyzed by glycogen synthase and uncover the structural interplay between glycogen association and glucose-6- phosphate activation of glycogen synthase. As part of this effort, we will initialize a screen for small molecule modulators of human glycogen synthase that can manipulate the activity state of the enzyme and promote glucose disposal under conditions found in Type 2 Diabetes or inhibit the action of glycogen synthase as a potential approach for treating glycogen storage disorders, such as Lafora and Pompe's Disease. Structure determination will be an integral part or our efforts as complexes between glycogen synthase and its substrates in combination with glucose-6-phosphate or novel agonists/antagonists of the activator binding site will provide important structure/activity relationships that will guide further development of our research. As part of our screening efforts in Aim 2 we will produce novel enzymatic forms representing homogenous phosphorylation states and these will be tested against the novel modulators of glycogen synthase identified in this aim. In addition, we will pursue structure determination of these novel modulators in the presence and absence of substrates, substrate analogs or glucose-6-phosphate which will link to our work in aim 1.
Aim 3 will determine the molecular mechanism of catalysis and the specificity of glycosyltransfer. One of the goals of this aim is to understand whether catalytic mistakes produced by glycogen synthase are ultimately responsible for aberrations in glycogen processing.
This aim will draw upon the structural information developed in aim 1 and will employ wild-type and mutant forms of both yeast Gsy2p and human glycogen synthase and will feed important structure/activity information into our modulator discovery and development as part of aim 2.

Public Health Relevance

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease and the American Diabetes Association estimate that greater than 20 million Americans suffer from Diabetes and that another 50 million Americans exhibit signs of impaired glucose utilization. Between one-third and two-thirds of the glucose in the diet is directed to our stores of glucose, muscle and liver glycogen. The work in this proposal is directed toward understanding the molecular mechanism the controls the activity of glycogen synthase and toward the development of potential drugs. These potential therapeutics would increase the ability of this enzyme to store blood glucose as glycogen, resulting in the lowering of blood glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetics, or inhibit the action of the enzyme and prevent over accumulation of glycogen in individuals with Pompe's or Lafora Disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
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Macromolecular Structure and Function C Study Section (MSFC)
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Sechi, Salvatore
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Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
Schools of Medicine
United States
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