, Volume 50, Issue 10, pp 2097-2106
Date: 14 Aug 2007

Role of AMP-activated protein kinase gamma 3 genetic variability in glucose and lipid metabolism in non-diabetic whites



AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a heterotrimeric enzyme that acts as an intracellular fuel sensor, directing multiple metabolic pathways in a catabolic direction in times of nutrient shortage. In humans, three different γ-subunits (γ1, γ2, γ3) have been identified as AMPK regulators. The AMPKγ3 (protein kinase, AMP-activated, gamma 3 non-catalytic subunit, PRKAG3) isoform plays a role in gene regulation in glucose/lipid metabolism and skeletal muscle glycogen content. We investigated whether PRKAG3, in addition to being expressed in skeletal muscle, is also expressed in human liver. We also investigated whether genetic variance in PRKAG3 is associated with glucose and/or lipid metabolism in non-diabetic whites.

Materials and methods

After sequencing a screening cohort (n = 50) in the PRKAG3 locus, we genotyped 1061 participants for frequently found single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Association analyses between genotypes/haplotypes and metabolic traits were carried out.


We detected PRKAG3 expression in human liver and skeletal muscle. Two SNPs (rs692243, rs6436094) with minor allele frequencies of 0.16 and 0.26 respectively and in moderate linkage disequilibrium (D′ = 0.92; r 2 = 0.47) were found. rs692243 (C/G) confers a Pro71Ala mutation, while rs6436094 (A/G) is located in the 3′ untranslated region. No associations with prediabetic traits such as body fat distribution, insulin resistance or insulin secretion were found (p > 0.15 for all). However, the minor alleles of both SNPs were significantly associated with higher serum LDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein (Apo) B-100 levels (rs692243: CG:LDL 4.3%, ApoB-100 3.4%; GG:LDL 7.6%, ApoB-100 5.4%; p = 0.008 and p = 0.01 respectively; rs6436094: AG:LDL 3.3%, ApoB-100 1.7%; GG:LDL 11.3%, ApoB-100 11.1%; p = 0.009 and p = 0.05 respectively; dominant model). The GG/GG diplotype homozygous for both minor SNP alleles displayed the highest LDL-cholesterol among all frequent diplotypes (p = 0.059).


While genetic variability in PRKAG3 does not seem to have a major effect on glucose metabolism, it may play an important role in lipoprotein metabolism in humans.