AMP-activated protein kinase: nature's energy sensor.
ABSTRACT Maintaining sufficient levels of ATP (the immediate source of cellular energy) is essential for the proper functioning of all living cells. As a consequence, cells require mechanisms to balance energy demand with supply. In eukaryotic cells the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) cascade has an important role in this homeostasis. AMPK is activated by a fall in ATP (concomitant with a rise in ADP and AMP), which leads to the activation of catabolic pathways and the inhibition of anabolic pathways. Here we review the role of AMPK as an energy sensor and consider the recent finding that ADP, as well as AMP, causes activation of mammalian AMPK. We also review recent progress in structural studies on phosphorylated AMPK that provides a mechanism for the regulation of AMPK in which AMP and ADP protect it against dephosphorylation. Finally, we briefly survey some of the outstanding questions concerning the regulation of AMPK.
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ABSTRACT: Activation of AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) by phosphorylation at Thr172 is catalysed by at least two distinct upstream kinases, i.e. the tumour suppressor LKB1, and CaMKKbeta (Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase-beta). The sequence around Thr172 is highly conserved between the two catalytic subunit isoforms of AMPK and the 12 AMPK-related kinases, and LKB1 has been shown to act upstream of all of them. In the present paper we report that none of the AMPK-related kinases tested could be phosphorylated or activated in intact cells or cell-free assays by CaMKKbeta, although we did observe a slow phosphorylation and activation of BRSK1 (brain-specific kinase 1) by CaMKKalpha. Despite recent reports, we could not find any evidence that the alpha and/or beta subunits of AMPK formed a stable complex with CaMKKbeta. We also showed that increasing AMP concentrations in HeLa cells (which lack LKB1) had no effect on basal AMPK phosphorylation, but enhanced the ability of agents that increase intracellular Ca2+ to activate AMPK. This is consistent with the effect of AMP on phosphorylation of Thr172 being due to inhibition of dephosphorylation, and confirms that the effect of AMP is independent of the upstream kinase utilized.Biochemical Journal 12/2009; 426(1):109-18. · 4.65 Impact Factor
- Annual Review of Biochemistry 02/1977; 46:955-66. · 27.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A single entity, the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), phosphorylates and regulates in vivo hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (key regulatory enzymes of sterol synthesis and fatty acid synthesis, respectively), and probably many additional targets. The kinase is activated by high AMP and low ATP via a complex mechanism, which involves allosteric regulation, promotion of phosphorylation by an upstream protein kinase (AMPK kinase), and inhibition of dephosphorylation. This protein-kinase cascade represents a sensitive system, which is activated by cellular stresses that deplete ATP, and thus acts like a cellular fuel gauge. Our central hypothesis is that, when it detects a 'low-fuel' situation, it protects the cell by switching off ATP-consuming pathways (e.g. fatty acid synthesis and sterol synthesis) and switching on alternative pathways for ATP generation (e.g. fatty acid oxidation). Native AMP-activated protein kinase is a heterotrimer consisting of a catalytic alpha subunit, and beta and gamma subunits, which are also essential for activity. All three subunits have homologues in budding yeast, which are components of the SNF1 protein-kinase complex. SNF1 is activated by glucose starvation (which in yeast leads to ATP depletion) and genetic studies have shown that it is involved in derepression of glucose-repressed genes. This raises the intriguing possibility that AMPK may regulate gene expression in mammals. AMPK/SNF1 homologues are found in higher plants, and this protein-kinase cascade appears to be an ancient system which evolved to protect cells against the effects of nutritional or environmental stress.European Journal of Biochemistry 07/1997; 246(2):259-73. · 3.58 Impact Factor