Open Access Open Badges Research

The 3T3-L1 adipocyte glycogen proteome

David Stapleton1, Chad Nelson2, Krishna Parsawar2, Marcelo Flores-Opazo1, Donald McClain3 and Glendon Parker34*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

2 Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Core Facility, University of Utah, Rm 5C124 SOM, 30 N 1900 E, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84132, USA

3 University of Utah School of Medicine, Rm 4C464B SOM, 30 N 1900 E, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA

4 Department of Biology, Utah Valley University, 800 West University Parkway, Orem, UT 801-863-6907, USA

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Proteome Science 2013, 11:11  doi:10.1186/1477-5956-11-11

Published: 22 March 2013



Glycogen is a branched polysaccharide of glucose residues, consisting of α-1-4 glycosidic linkages with α-1-6 branches that together form multi-layered particles ranging in size from 30 nm to 300 nm. Glycogen spatial conformation and intracellular organization are highly regulated processes. Glycogen particles interact with their metabolizing enzymes and are associated with a variety of proteins that intervene in its biology, controlling its structure, particle size and sub-cellular distribution. The function of glycogen in adipose tissue is not well understood but appears to have a pivotal role as a regulatory mechanism informing the cells on substrate availability for triacylglycerol synthesis. To provide new molecular insights into the role of adipocyte glycogen we analyzed the glycogen-associated proteome from differentiated 3T3-L1-adipocytes.


Glycogen particles from 3T3-L1-adipocytes were purified using a series of centrifugation steps followed by specific elution of glycogen bound proteins using α-1,4 glucose oligosaccharides, or maltodextrins, and tandem mass spectrometry. We identified regulatory proteins, 14-3-3 proteins, RACK1 and protein phosphatase 1 glycogen targeting subunit 3D. Evidence was also obtained for a regulated subcellular distribution of the glycogen particle: metabolic and mitochondrial proteins were abundant. Unlike the recently analyzed hepatic glycogen proteome, no endoplasmic proteins were detected, along with the recently described starch-binding domain protein 1. Other regulatory proteins which have previously been described as glycogen-associated proteins were not detected, including laforin, the AMPK beta-subunit and protein targeting to glycogen (PTG).


These data provide new molecular insights into the regulation of glycogen-bound proteins that are associated with the maintenance, organization and localization of the adipocyte glycogen particle.

Glycogen; Glycogen-associated proteins; 3T3-L1 adipocytes; Proteomics; 14-3-3 proteins; Protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 3D