Glucose regulation of specific gene expression is altered in a glucokinase-deficient mutant of Tetrahymena

J. E. Lavine, C. T. Roberts, D. E. Morse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Expression of the galactokinase gene in Tetrahymena thermophila can be repressed by glucose, glucose analogs, and epinephrine, each apparently acting through increased intracellular levels of adenosine 3′:5′-cyc lic monophosphate (cAMP) (1). To characterize further the initial steps in the control of galactokinase gene-expression by glucose, we have analyzed mutants which are defective in the metabolism of this sugar; these mutants were selected for their resistance to the glucose analog, 2-deoxyglucose (2). In one such mutant that is deficient in glucokinase, the synthesis of galactokinase is totally resistant to repression by glucose or its analogs, while repression by exogenous catecholamines or dibutyryl cAMP is unaffected. Radiochromatographic analyses of extracts of wild-type cells incubated with [14C]-deoxyglucose reveal intracellular conversio to several deoxyglucose metabolites, principally deoxyglucose-6-P and smaller amounts of deoxyglunose 1-P and 2-deoxygluconate; extracts of glucokinase-deficient cells prepared in a similar manner contain only trace amounts of deoxyglucose-6-P. The glucose analog 3-O-methylglucose, which is transported but not phosphorylated in wild-type cells, also cannot maintain repression of galactokinase. These results establish that the transport and subsequent phosphorylation of glucose are required for glucose-initiated repression of galactokinase gene expression, possibly acting by modulation of catecholamine or cyclic AMP levels. Additionally, we show unequivocally that: (a) cells containing derepressed levels of galactokinase are repressed upon the addition of glucose by inhibition of the synthesis of new enzyme and dilution of preformed enzyme concomitant with cell division, rather than through selective inactivation or degradation of galactokinase; and (b) glycerol kinase, glucokinase and fructokinase activities also are repressed by glucose in wild-type Tetrahymena, indicating that the glucose repression phenomenon is pleiotropic. Because the glucose repression of the synthesis of each of these enzymes is abolished in cells deficient in glucokinase, the regulatory mechanisms elucidated for repression of galactokinase synthesis are likely to be of wide significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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