Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Embryonic Livers Store Energy

Date:
February 27, 2008
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered how embryonic livers accumulate an important energy molecule even though they lacks the key enzyme responsible. In adults, the liver stores glycogen, a sugar polymer that provides a steady supply of blood glucose when needed (e.g. during fasting). Glycogen production is controlled by an enzyme called glucokinase (GK), and mutations resulting in too much or too little GK will lead to hypo- and hyper-glycemia, respectively.

Researchers have uncovered how embryonic livers accumulate an important energy molecule even though they lacks the key enzyme responsible.

In adults, the liver stores glycogen, a sugar polymer that provides a steady supply of blood glucose when needed (e.g. during fasting). Glycogen production is controlled by an enzyme called glucokinase (GK), and mutations resulting in too much or too little GK will lead to hypo- and hyper-glycemia, respectively.

One interesting biological mystery has been that embryonic livers can store plenty of glycogen, yet they don't produce any GK; the liver only starts making this enzyme after newborns drink their first carbohydrate-rich milk.

Joan Guinovart and colleagues found that embryonic mouse livers circumvent the lack of GK by greatly overproducing (~200 fold higher than adult liver) another enzyme known as hexokinase (HK). Such as high amount is necessary because while HK can make glycogen, it's really inefficient.

However, unlike GK, HK makes glycogen independent of blood-glucose levels, and the researchers confirmed this by fasting pregnant mice and observing the embryonic livers did not alter their glycogen accumulation.

Thus, by using HK, embryos safeguard their glycogen production from any changes in maternal diet to ensure abundant storage. This is critical since glycogen is a newborn's principal source of energy in the critical time between birth and first milk meal.

This research was recently published in the Journal Of Biological Chemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "How Embryonic Livers Store Energy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222143823.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2008, February 27). How Embryonic Livers Store Energy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222143823.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "How Embryonic Livers Store Energy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222143823.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins