GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology


Microbiology and Physiological Systems

First Thesis Advisor

H. M. Goodman, Ph.D.


Lipolysis, Hormones, Adipocytes


The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanism of action of lipolysis by growth hormone in rat adipocytes. GH-induced lipolysis, in contrast to that of isoproterenol (ISO), is slow in onset (lag time >1h), small in magnitude (~2X basal). and requires corticosteroid. Evidence for direct coupling between GH receptors and adenylyl cyclase or G-proteins is lacking, and although we could detect no measurable change in cAMP content after treatment with GH + dexamethasone (Dex), it is likely that cAMP activation of protein kinase A is a central event in GH-induced lipolysis. Rp-cAMPS, a competitive antagonist of cAMP was equally effective in decreasing lipolysis in tissues treated with GH/Dex or a comparably lipolytic dose of ISO. Incorporation of 32P from γ-32P-ATP into kemptide, a synthetic oligopeptide substrate for protein kinase A, was increased in homogenates of GH/Dex-treated tissue. This increase was correlated with increased lipolysis. Earlier estimates based upon 32P-ribosylation of Gi catalysed by pertussis toxin (PTx) suggested that the abundance of Gi in adipocyte membranes was decreased 4h after treatment of hypophysectomized rats with GH. We therefore examined the possibility that changes in amount or distribution of G-proteins in adipocyte membranes might account for the lipolytic action of GH. Homogenates of GH/Dex-treated and control adipocytes were subjected to differential centrifugation and the abundance of G-proteins in low speed, l6k x g (16k), pellets and high speed, 100k x g (100k), pellets were determined by quantitative Western analysis with densitometry. A 35% loss of Giα2 from the l6k pellet compared from tissues treated with GH/Dex was associated with a 70% increase of Giα2 in the 100k pellet. No change in Gsα was observed in the l6k pellet but a 35% loss of Gsα was seen in the 100k pellet. The G proteins in the l6k pellet were fractionated on a continuous sucrose gradient followed by quantitation with Western analysis or autoradiography after 32P-NAD ribosylation. Giα2 was consistently shifted from heavier to lighter fractions of the l6k pellet after treatment with GH/Dex. Similar shifts of Gsα were not seen. The distribution of 32P-labelled proteins was comparably altered after incubation of homogenates of control and GH/Dex treated adipocytes with PTx and 32P-NAD. These shifts were blocked by treatment of adipocytes with 100μM colchicine which also blocked the lipolytic action of GH/Dex. We propose that an action of GH/Dex on the cytoskeleton of fat cells may change the cellular distribution of G-proteins in a manner that produces a relative decrease in the tonic inhibitory influence of Gi on adenylyl cyclase.



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