Hayashi H, Sato Y, Li Z, Yamamura K, Yoshizawa T, Yamagata K
Glucokinase is expressed principally in pancreatic β-cells and hepatocytes, and catalyzes the phosphorylation of glucose to glucose-6-phosphate, a rate-limiting step of glycolysis. To better understand the roles of hepatic glucokinase, we generated Gck knockout mice by ablating liver-specific exon 1b. The knockout mice exhibited impaired glucose tolerance, decreased hepatic glycogen content, and reduced Pklr and Fas gene expression in the liver, indicating that hepatic glucokinase plays important roles in glucose metabolism. It has also been reported that hepatic glucokinase regulates the expression of thermogenesis-related genes in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and insulin secretion in response to glucose. However, the liver-specific Gck knockout mice displayed neither altered expression of thermogenesis-related genes in BAT nor impaired insulin secretion by β-cells under a normal chow diet. These results suggest that chronic suppression of hepatic glucokinase has a small influence on intertissue (liver-to-BAT as well as liver-to-β-cell) metabolic communication.