UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (E.C. 188.8.131.52), encoded by ugp, provides UDP-glucose which is critical to the synthesis of glycogen, and also catalyzes the reaction between UTP and galactose-1-phosphate, yielding UDP-galactose. This activity of UDP-gal pyrophosphorylase (UDP-galPP) suggests a role in an alternate pathway for galactose metabolism in patients with deficiency of galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase (GALT). We examined the effects of GALT deficiency and dietary galactose on UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UDP-gluPP) and UDP-galactose pyrophosphorylase activity and ugp expression in liver of mice with homozygous deletion of the critical regions of galt. Activity with glucose-1-phosphate as substrate was significantly higher than that with galactose-1-phosphate. In liver from mice with GALT deficiency (G/G), UDP-galPP activity appeared to be lower than that measured in liver from control (N/N) animals. This difference disappeared when the N/N tissue homogenate was dialyzed to remove residual UDP-glucose, confirming that careful elimination of residual GALT activity is necessary, since GALT has 1000-fold greater activity toward galactose-1-phosphate than that of UDP-galPP in liver homogenates. Prior exposure to conventional mouse chow, high galactose chow, and high glucose chow did not alter UDP-glu PP or UDP-galPP activity. Steady state UGP mRNA levels were determined in tissues from normal and G/G animals. UGP expression was highest in liver, and did not differ by genotype or exposure to high galactose chow. UDP-galPP activity may account for unexplained ability to oxidize galactose in animals with no GALT activity, but is insufficient to alter accumulation of galactose metabolites. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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