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Adenine nucleotide-mediated regulation of hepatic PTP1B activity in mouse models of type 2 diabetes

  • Xiao Yang
  • Yang Zhao
  • Qi Sun
  • Yunxia Yang
  • Yan Gao
  • Wenhao Ge
  • Junhao Liu
  • Xi Xu
  • Dan Weng
  • Shiming Wang
  • Jianfa ZhangEmail author



Plasma 5′-AMP (pAMP) is elevated in mouse models of type 2 diabetes. However, the metabolic regulatory role of adenine nucleotides in type 2 diabetes remains unclear.


Adenine nucleotides and their metabolites in plasma and liver were examined by HPLC. 1H NMR-based metabolomics analysis was performed to explore the changes of metabolites in mouse models of type 2 diabetes. Na+/K+ ATPase and Na+/H+ exchanger activity were measured in response to adenine nucleotide metabolites. Human recombinant protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) was used for enzyme kinetic assays. Protein binding assays were performed with microscale thermophoresis. The intracellular pH of hepatocyte AML12 cell lines was measured using the BCECF-AM method. We also analysed pAMP levels in participants with type 2 diabetes.


Elevation of pAMP was a universal phenomenon in all mouse models of type 2 diabetes including db/db vs lean mice (13.9 ± 2.3 μmol/l vs 3.7 ± 0.9 μmol/l; p < 0.01), ob/ob vs lean mice (9.1 ± 2.0 μmol/l vs 3.9 ± 1.2 μmol/l; p < 0.01) and high-fat diet/streptozotocin-induced vs wild-type mice (6.6 ± 1.5 μmol/l vs 4.1 ± 0.9 μmol/l; p < 0.05); this elevation was required for the occurrence of hyperglycaemia in obese mice. 1H NMR-based metabolomics study following HPLC analysis revealed that the metabolite profile in wild-type mice treated with 5′-AMP was similar to that in db/db diabetic mice, especially the accumulation of a large quantity of ATP and its metabolites. The glucose-lowering drug metformin reduced the severity of hyperglycaemia both in 5′-AMP-induced wild-type mice and db/db mice. Metformin decreased the accumulation of liver ATP but not its metabolites in these hyperglycaemic mice. ATP and metformin reciprocally change cellular pH homeostasis in liver, causing opposite shifts in liver activity of PTP1B, a key negative regulator of insulin signalling. Furthermore, pAMP levels were also elevated in individuals with type 2 diabetes (45.2 ± 22.7 nmol/l vs 3.1 ± 1.9 nmol/l; p < 0.01).


These results reveal an emerging role for adenine nucleotide in the regulation of hyperglycaemia and provide a potential therapeutic target in obesity and type 2 diabetes.


ATP Hyperglycaemia Metformin Obesity pHi PTP1B 



AMP-activated protein kinase


Adenine nucleotide metabolite


(2',7'-Bis-[carboxyethyl]-5-[and-6]-carboxyfluorescein)-tetraacetoxymethyl ester




High-fat diet


Microscale thermophoresis


Organic cation transporter-1


Plasma 5′-AMP


Polyethylene glycol-modified adenosine deaminase


Intracellular pH


Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B




Contribution statement

XY, YZ and QS performed the experiments. XY, YZ, QS, YXY, YG, WHG and JHL analysed the data, interpreted the results, and reviewed and edited the manuscript. XX, DW and SMW contributed to the discussion, provided advice on experimental design and reviewed the manuscript. JFZ designed the study and wrote the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of this manuscript. JFZ is the guarantor of this work.


This work was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos 31671220, 31861163004).

Duality of interest

The authors declare that there is no duality of interest associated with this manuscript.

Supplementary material

125_2019_4971_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.6 mb)
ESM (PDF 1.62 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao Yang
    • 1
  • Yang Zhao
    • 1
  • Qi Sun
    • 1
  • Yunxia Yang
    • 1
  • Yan Gao
    • 1
  • Wenhao Ge
    • 1
  • Junhao Liu
    • 1
  • Xi Xu
    • 1
  • Dan Weng
    • 1
  • Shiming Wang
    • 1
  • Jianfa Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Molecular MetabolismNanjing University of Science & TechnologyNanjingChina

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