Biochimica et Biophysica Acta vol:496 issue:2 pages:448-57
We have studied the mode of action of three hormones (angiotensin, vasopressin and phenylephrine, an alpha-adrenergic agent) which promote liver glycogenolysis in a cyclic AMP-independent way, in comparison with that of glucagon, which is known to act essentially via cyclic AMP. The following observations were made using isolated rat hepatocytes: (a) In the normal Krebs-Henseleit bicarbonate medium, the hormones activated glycogen phosphorylase (EC 220.127.116.11) to about the same degree. In contrast to glucagon, the cyclic AMP-independent hormones did not activate either protein kinase (EC 18.104.22.168) or phosphorylase b kinase (EC 22.214.171.124). (b) The absence of Ca2+ from the incubation medium prevented the activation of glycogen phosphorylase by the cyclic AMP-independent agents and slowed down that induced by glucagon. (c) The ionophore A 23187 produced the same degree of activation of glycogen phosphorylase, provided that Ca2+ was present in the incubation medium. (d) Glucagon, cyclic AMP and three cyclic AMP-dependent hormones caused an enhanced uptake of 45Ca; it was verified that concentrations of angiotensin and of vasopressin known to occur in haemorrhagic conditions were able to produce phosphorylase activation and stimulate 45Ca uptake. (e) Appropriate antagonists (i.e. phentolamine against phenylephrine and an angiotensin analogue against angiotensin) prevented both the enhanced 45Ca uptake and the phosphorylase activation. We interpret our data in favour of a role of calcium (1) as the second messenger in liver for the three cyclic AMP-independent glycogenolytic hormones and (2) as an additional messenger for glucagon which, via cyclic AMP, will make calcium available to the cytoplasm either from extracellular or from intracellular pools. The target enzyme for Ca2+ is most probably phosphorylase b kinase.