Scientific reports

In vivo regulation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β activity in neurons and brains.

PMID 28819213


Glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) is a multifunctional protein kinase involved in many cellular activities including development, differentiation and diseases. GSK3β is thought to be constitutively activated by autophosphorylation at Tyr216 and inactivated by phosphorylation at Ser9. The GSK3β activity has previously been evaluated by inhibitory Ser9 phosphorylation, but it does not necessarily indicate the kinase activity itself. Here, we applied the Phos-tag SDS-PAGE technique to the analysis of GSK3β phosphoisotypes in cells and brains. There were three phosphoisotypes of GSK3β; double phosphorylation at Ser9 and Tyr216, single phosphorylation at Tyr216 and the nonphosphorylated isotype. Active GSK3β with phosphorylation at Tyr216 represented half or more of the total GSK3β in cultured cells. Although levels of phospho-Ser9 were increased by insulin treatment, Ser9 phosphorylation occurred only in a minor fraction of GSK3β. In mouse brains, GSK3β was principally in the active form with little Ser9 phosphorylation, and the phosphoisotypes of GSK3β changed depending on the regions of the brain, age, sex and disease conditions. These results indicate that the Phos-tag SDS-PAGE method provides a simple and appropriate measurement of active GSK3β in vivo, and the activity is regulated by the mechanism other than phosphorylation on Ser9.