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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Regulation of 5'-adenosine monophosphate deaminase in the freeze tolerant wood frog, Rana sylvatica

Christopher A Dieni and Kenneth B Storey*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Biochemistry and Department of Chemistry, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, Canada

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BMC Biochemistry 2008, 9:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2091-9-12

Published: 22 April 2008



The wood frog, Rana sylvatica, is one of a few vertebrate species that have developed natural freeze tolerance, surviving days or weeks with 65–70% of its total body water frozen in extracellular ice masses. Frozen frogs exhibit no vital signs and their organs must endure multiple stresses, particularly long term anoxia and ischemia. Maintenance of cellular energy supply is critical to viability in the frozen state and in skeletal muscle, AMP deaminase (AMPD) plays a key role in stabilizing cellular energetics. The present study investigated AMPD control in wood frog muscle.


Wood frog AMPD was subject to multiple regulatory controls: binding to subcellular structures, protein phosphorylation, and effects of allosteric effectors, cryoprotectants and temperature. The percentage of bound AMPD activity increased from 20 to 35% with the transition to the frozen state. Bound AMPD showed altered kinetic parameters compared with the free enzyme (S0.5 AMP was reduced, Hill coefficient fell to ~1.0) and the transition to the frozen state led to a 3-fold increase in S0.5 AMP of the bound enzyme. AMPD was a target of protein phosphorylation. Bound AMPD from control frogs proved to be a low phosphate form with a low S0.5 AMP and was phosphorylated in incubations that stimulated PKA, PKC, CaMK, or AMPK. Bound AMPD from frozen frogs was a high phosphate form with a high S0.5 AMP that was reduced under incubation conditions that stimulated protein phosphatases. Frog muscle AMPD was activated by Mg·ATP and Mg·ADP and inhibited by Mg·GTP, KCl, NaCl and NH4Cl. The enzyme product, IMP, uniquely inhibited only the bound (phosphorylated) enzyme from muscle of frozen frogs. Activators and inhibitors differentially affected the free versus bound enzyme. S0.5 AMP of bound AMPD was also differentially affected by high versus low assay temperature (25 vs 5°C) and by the presence/absence of the natural cryoprotectant (250 mM glucose) that accumulates during freezing.


Maintenance of long term viability under the ischemic conditions in frozen muscle requires attention to the control of cellular energetics. Differential regulatory controls on AMPD by mechanisms including binding to muscle proteins, actions allosteric effectors, glucose and temperature effects and reversible phosphorylation adjust enzyme function for an optimal role in controlling cellular adenylate levels in ischemic frozen muscle. Stable modification of AMPD properties via freeze-responsive phosphorylation may contribute both to AMPD control and to coordinating AMPD function with other enzymes of energy metabolism in cold ischemic muscle.