Enzyme activator

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Bacillus stearothermophilus phosphofructokinase. PDB: 6PFK . Phosphofructokinase 6PFK wpmp.png
Bacillus stearothermophilus phosphofructokinase. PDB: 6PFK .

Enzyme activators are molecules that bind to enzymes and increase their activity. They are the opposite of enzyme inhibitors. [1] These molecules are often involved in the allosteric regulation of enzymes in the control of metabolism. An example of an enzyme activator working in this way is fructose 2,6-bisphosphate, which activates phosphofructokinase 1 and increases the rate of glycolysis in response to the hormone glucagon. In some cases, when a substrate binds to one catalytic subunit of an enzyme, this can trigger an increase in the substrate affinity as well as catalytic activity in the enzyme's other subunits, and thus the substrate acts as an activator.




Hexokinase-I (HK-I) is an enzyme activator because it draws glucose into the glycolysis pathway. Its function is to phosphorylate glucose releasing glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) as the product. HK-I not only signals the activation of glucose into glycolysis but also maintains a low glucose concentration to facilitate glucose diffusion into the cell. It has two catalytic domains (N-terminal domain and C-terminal domain) which are connected through an α-helix. The N-terminal acts as an allosteric regulator of C-terminal; the C-terminal is the only one involved in the catalytic activity. HK-I is regulated by the concentration of G6P, where G6P acts as a feedback inhibitor. At low G6P concentration, HK-I is activated; at high G6P concentration, the HK-I is inhibited. [2]


Glucokinase (GK) is an enzyme that helps in the glycolytic pathway by phosphorylating glucose into glucose-6-phosphate (G6P). It is an isozyme of hexokinase and is found mainly in pancreatic β cells, but also liver, gut, and brain cells where glycolysis cause glucose-induced insulin secretion. [3] Glucokinase activator lowers blood glucose concentrations by enhancing glucose uptake in the liver and increasing insulin production by the pancreatic β cells. [3] Due to this, Glucokinase and glucokinase activators are the focus of treatment for those with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Glucokinase have a single allosteric site where the glucose-regulating protein (GKRP) binds in the nucleus of the cell in its inactive form when there is a low concentration of glucose present in the cell. However, when the glucose concentration of the cell increases the glucokinase-GKRP complex breaks apart and GK proceeds to the cytoplasm where it then phosphorylates glucose. Glucose when abundant in cells acts as an enzyme activator for glucokinase. Glucokinase activation in the β cells and liver cells results in the uptake of glucose and production of glycogen. This activation in the β cells leads to insulin secretion, promoting glucose uptake storing it as glycogen in the muscles. [4]

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Glycolysis Metabolic pathway

Glycolysis is the metabolic pathway that converts glucose, into pyruvic acid. The free energy released in this process is used to form the high-energy molecules adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH). Glycolysis is a sequence of ten reactions catalyzed by enzymes. Capture of bond energy of carbohydrates. Storage of ATP

Phosphorylation Chemical process of introducing a phosphate

In chemistry, phosphorylation is the attachment of a phosphate group to a molecule or an ion. This process are common in biology. Protein phosphorylation often activates many enzymes.

Hexokinase Class of enzymes

A hexokinase is an enzyme that phosphorylates hexoses, forming hexose phosphate. In most organisms, glucose is the most important substrate for hexokinases, and glucose-6-phosphate is the most important product. Hexokinase possesses the ability to transfer an inorganic phosphate group from ATP to a substrate.


Glycogenolysis is the breakdown of glycogen (n) to glucose-1-phosphate and glycogen (n-1). Glycogen branches are catabolized by the sequential removal of glucose monomers via phosphorolysis, by the enzyme glycogen phosphorylase.

Phosphofructokinase 1 Class of enzymes

Phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK-1) is one of the most important regulatory enzymes of glycolysis. It is an allosteric enzyme made of 4 subunits and controlled by many activators and inhibitors. PFK-1 catalyzes the important "committed" step of glycolysis, the conversion of fructose 6-phosphate and ATP to fructose 1,6-bisphosphate and ADP. Glycolysis is the foundation for respiration, both anaerobic and aerobic. Because phosphofructokinase (PFK) catalyzes the ATP-dependent phosphorylation to convert fructose-6-phosphate into fructose 1,6-bisphosphate and ADP, it is one of the key regulatory steps of glycolysis. PFK is able to regulate glycolysis through allosteric inhibition, and in this way, the cell can increase or decrease the rate of glycolysis in response to the cell's energy requirements. For example, a high ratio of ATP to ADP will inhibit PFK and glycolysis. The key difference between the regulation of PFK in eukaryotes and prokaryotes is that in eukaryotes PFK is activated by fructose 2,6-bisphosphate. The purpose of fructose 2,6-bisphosphate is to supersede ATP inhibition, thus allowing eukaryotes to have greater sensitivity to regulation by hormones like glucagon and insulin.

AMP-activated protein kinase Class of enzymes

5' AMP-activated protein kinase or AMPK or 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase is an enzyme that plays a role in cellular energy homeostasis, largely to activate glucose and fatty acid uptake and oxidation when cellular energy is low. It belongs to a highly conserved eukaryotic protein family and its orthologues are SNF1 in yeast, and SnRK1 in plants. It consists of three proteins (subunits) that together make a functional enzyme, conserved from yeast to humans. It is expressed in a number of tissues, including the liver, brain, and skeletal muscle. In response to binding AMP and ADP, the net effect of AMPK activation is stimulation of hepatic fatty acid oxidation, ketogenesis, stimulation of skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation and glucose uptake, inhibition of cholesterol synthesis, lipogenesis, and triglyceride synthesis, inhibition of adipocyte lipogenesis, inhibition of adipocyte lipolysis, and modulation of insulin secretion by pancreatic β-cells.

Glucose 6-phosphate Chemical compound

Glucose 6-phosphate is a glucose sugar phosphorylated at the hydroxy group on carbon 6. This dianion is very common in cells as the majority of glucose entering a cell will become phosphorylated in this way.

Glucokinase Enzyme participating to the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism

Glucokinase is an enzyme that facilitates phosphorylation of glucose to glucose-6-phosphate. Glucokinase occurs in cells in the liver and pancreas of humans and most other vertebrates. In each of these organs it plays an important role in the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism by acting as a glucose sensor, triggering shifts in metabolism or cell function in response to rising or falling levels of glucose, such as occur after a meal or when fasting. Mutations of the gene for this enzyme can cause unusual forms of diabetes or hypoglycemia.

Insulin receptor Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

The insulin receptor (IR) is a transmembrane receptor that is activated by insulin, IGF-I, IGF-II and belongs to the large class of receptor tyrosine kinase. Metabolically, the insulin receptor plays a key role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, a functional process that under degenerate conditions may result in a range of clinical manifestations including diabetes and cancer. Insulin signalling controls access to blood glucose in body cells. When insulin falls, especially in those with high insulin sensitivity, body cells begin only to have access to lipids that do not require transport across the membrane. So, in this way, insulin is the key regulator of fat metabolism as well. Biochemically, the insulin receptor is encoded by a single gene INSR, from which alternate splicing during transcription results in either IR-A or IR-B isoforms. Downstream post-translational events of either isoform result in the formation of a proteolytically cleaved α and β subunit, which upon combination are ultimately capable of homo or hetero-dimerisation to produce the ≈320 kDa disulfide-linked transmembrane insulin receptor.

The glucokinase regulatory protein (GKRP) also known as glucokinase regulator (GCKR) is a protein produced in hepatocytes. GKRP binds and moves glucokinase (GK), thereby controlling both activity and intracellular location of this key enzyme of glucose metabolism.

Glycogenesis is the process of glycogen synthesis, in which glucose molecules are added to chains of glycogen for storage. This process is activated during rest periods following the Cori cycle, in the liver, and also activated by insulin in response to high glucose levels.

Glycogen phosphorylase Class of enzymes

Glycogen phosphorylase is one of the phosphorylase enzymes. Glycogen phosphorylase catalyzes the rate-limiting step in glycogenolysis in animals by releasing glucose-1-phosphate from the terminal alpha-1,4-glycosidic bond. Glycogen phosphorylase is also studied as a model protein regulated by both reversible phosphorylation and allosteric effects.

The glucose cycle occurs primarily in the liver and is the dynamic balance between glucose and glucose 6-phosphate. This is important for maintaining a constant concentration of glucose in the blood stream.

Fructose 2,6-bisphosphate Chemical compound

Fructose 2,6-bisphosphate, abbreviated Fru-2,6-P2, is a metabolite that allosterically affects the activity of the enzymes phosphofructokinase 1 (PFK-1) and fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase-1) to regulate glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. Fru-2,6-P2 itself is synthesized and broken down by the bifunctional enzyme phosphofructokinase 2/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase (PFK-2/FBPase-2).

The Randle cycle, also known as the glucose fatty-acid cycle, is a metabolic process involving the competition of glucose and fatty acids for substrates. It is theorized to play a role in explaining type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.


Hexokinase-1 (HK1) is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the HK1 gene on chromosome 10. Hexokinases phosphorylate glucose to produce glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), the first step in most glucose metabolism pathways. This gene encodes a ubiquitous form of hexokinase which localizes to the outer membrane of mitochondria. Mutations in this gene have been associated with hemolytic anemia due to hexokinase deficiency. Alternative splicing of this gene results in five transcript variants which encode different isoforms, some of which are tissue-specific. Each isoform has a distinct N-terminus; the remainder of the protein is identical among all the isoforms. A sixth transcript variant has been described, but due to the presence of several stop codons, it is not thought to encode a protein. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2009]

Fructolysis refers to the metabolism of fructose from dietary sources. Though the metabolism of glucose through glycolysis uses many of the same enzymes and intermediate structures as those in fructolysis, the two sugars have very different metabolic fates in human metabolism. Unlike glucose, which is directly metabolized widely in the body, fructose is almost entirely metabolized in the liver in humans, where it is directed toward replenishment of liver glycogen and triglyceride synthesis. Under one percent of ingested fructose is directly converted to plasma triglyceride. 29% - 54% of fructose is converted in liver to glucose, and about a quarter of fructose is converted to lactate. 15% - 18% is converted to glycogen. Glucose and lactate are then used normally as energy to fuel cells all over the body.


Hexokinase 2 also known as HK2 is an enzyme which in humans is encoded by the HK2 gene on chromosome 2. Hexokinases phosphorylate glucose to produce glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), the first step in most glucose metabolism pathways. This gene encodes hexokinase 2, the predominant form found in skeletal muscle. It localizes to the outer membrane of mitochondria. Expression of this gene is insulin-responsive, and studies in rat suggest that it is involved in the increased rate of glycolysis seen in rapidly growing cancer cells. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2009]


Hexokinase 3 also known as HK3 is an enzyme which in humans is encoded by the HK3 gene on chromosome 5. Hexokinases phosphorylate glucose to produce glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), the first step in most glucose metabolism pathways. This gene encodes hexokinase 3. Similar to hexokinases 1 and 2, this allosteric enzyme is inhibited by its product glucose-6-phosphate. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2009]

The insulin transduction pathway is a biochemical pathway by which insulin increases the uptake of glucose into fat and muscle cells and reduces the synthesis of glucose in the liver and hence is involved in maintaining glucose homeostasis. This pathway is also influenced by fed versus fasting states, stress levels, and a variety of other hormones.


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