5-Amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide (AICA) riboside, the nucleoside corresponding to AICA ribotide (AICAR or ZMP), an intermediate of the de novo pathway of purine biosynthesis, was found to exert a dose-dependent inhibition on gluconeogenesis in isolated rat hepatocytes. Production of glucose from lactate-pyruvate mixtures was half-maximally inhibited by ∼100 μM and completely suppressed by 500 μM AICA riboside. AICA riboside also inhibited the production of glucose from all other gluconeogenic precursors investigated, i.e., fructose, dihydroxyacetone, and L-proline. Measurements of intermediates of the glycolytic-gluconeogenic pathway showed that AICA riboside provoked elevations of triose phosphates and fructose-1,6-bisphosphate and decreases in fructose-6-phosphate and glucose-6-phosphate. The effects of AICA riboside persisted when the cells were washed 10 min after its addition but were suppressed by 5-iodotubercidin, an inhibitor of adenosine kinase. AICA riboside provoked a dose-dependent buildup of normally undetectable Z nucleotides. After 20 min of incubation with 500 μM AICA riboside, ZMP, ZTP, and ZDP reached 3, 0.3, and 0.1 μmol/g cells, respectively. Concentrations of ATP were not significantly modified by addition of up to 500 μM AICA riboside when the cells were incubated with lactate-pyruvate but decreased with fructose or dihydroxyacetone. The activity of rat liver fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase was inhibited by ZMP with an apparent Ki of 370 μM. It is concluded that AICA riboside exerts a suppressive effect on gluconeogenesis because it provokes an accumulation of ZMP, which inhibits fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase. Because gluconeogenesis is increased in diabetes, our observations warrant a search for related inhibitors of f ructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, which may have therapeutic potential in this disorder.

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