A novel variant of glutamine:fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase-1 (GFAT1) mRNA is selectively expressed in striated muscle.
Glutamine:fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase(GFAT) is the rate-limiting enzyme of the hexosamine synthesis pathway. Products of this pathway have been implicated in insulin resistance and glucose toxicity. GFAT1 is ubiquitous, whereas GFAT2 is expressed mainly in the central nervous system. In the course of developing a competitive reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay, we noted that GFAT1 cDNA from muscle but not from other tissues migrated as a doublet. Subsequent cloning and sequencing revealed two GFAT1 mRNAs in both mouse and human skeletal muscles. The novel GFAT1 mRNA (GFAT1Alt [muscle selective variant of GFAT1]) is likely a splice variant. It is identical to GFAT1 except for a 48 or 54 bp insert in the mouse and human, respectively, at nucleotide position 686 of the coding sequence, resulting in a 16 or 18 amino acid insert at position 229 of the protein. GFAT1Alt is the predominant GFAT1 mRNA in mouse hindlimb muscle, is weakly expressed in the heart, and is undetectable in the brain, liver, kidney, lung, intestine, spleen, and 3T3-L1 adipocytes. In humans, it is strongly expressed in skeletal muscle but not in the brain. GFAT1 and GFAT1Alt expressed by recombinant adenovirus infection in COS-7 cells displayed robust enzyme activity and kinetic differences. The apparent K(m) of GFAT1Alt for fructose-6-phosphate was approximately twofold higher than that of GFAT1, whereas K(i) for UDP-N-acetylglucosamine was approximately fivefold lower. Muscle insulin resistance is a hallmark and predictor of type 2 diabetes. Variations in the expression of GFAT isoforms in muscle may contribute to predisposition to insulin resistance.