Glucokinase (GK) plays a central role in the sensing of glucose in pancreatic β-cells and parenchymal cells of the liver. Glucokinase regulatory protein is a physiological inhibitor of GK in the liver. To understand the role of the interaction of these two proteins in glucose sensing, we carried out a series of experiments to localize the protein in the liver cell. The regulatory protein was found to be present mainly in the nucleus of the cell under a variety of conditions that mimicked the glucose status of the fed and fasted state. GK was localized in the nucleus when the cells were exposed to low glucose concentrations. At higher glucose concentrations or in the presence of low concentrations of fructose, GK translocated to the cytoplasm. The effect of fructose was more robust and rapid than the effect of high glucose concentrations. Furthermore, the effect of fructose and high glucose on the translocation of GK from the nucleus could be partially reversed by glucagon. This unusual localization and behavior suggests a role for GK and its regulatory protein in hepatic energy metabolism that may be broader than glucose phosphorylation.

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