Asish K Saha

Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (64)

  • Source
    Kimberly A. Coughlan · Rudy J. Valentine · Bella S. Sudit · [...] · Asish K. Saha
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an energy-sensing enzyme whose activity is inhibited in settings of insulin resistance. Exposure to a high glucose concentration has recently been shown to increase phosphorylation of AMPK at Ser485/491 of its α1/α2 subunit; however, the mechanism by which it does so is not known. Diacylglycerol (DAG), which is also increased in muscle exposed to high glucose, activates a number of signaling molecules including protein kinase (PK)C and PKD1. We sought to determine whether PKC or PKD1 is involved in inhibition of AMPK by causing Ser485/491 phosphorylation in skeletal muscle cells. C2C12 myotubes were treated with the PKC/D1 activator phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), which acts as a DAG mimetic. This caused dose- and time-dependent increases in AMPK Ser485/491 phosphorylation, which was associated with a ~60% decrease in AMPKα2 activity. Expression of a phosphodefective AMPKα2 mutant (S491A) prevented the PMA-induced reduction in AMPK activity. Serine phosphorylation and inhibition of AMPK activity were partially prevented by the broad PKC inhibitor Gӧ6983 and fully prevented by the specific PKD1 inhibitor CRT0066101. Genetic knockdown of PKD1 also prevented Ser485/491 phosphorylation of AMPK. Inhibition of previously identified kinases that phosphorylate AMPK at this site (Akt, S6K, and ERK) did not prevent these events. PMA treatment also caused impairments in insulin-signaling through Akt, which were prevented by PKD1 inhibition. Finally, recombinant PKD1 phosphorylated AMPKα2 at Ser491 in cell-free conditions. These results identify PKD1 as a novel upstream kinase of AMPKα2 Ser491 that plays a negative role in insulin signaling in muscle cells.
    Full-text Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blocking mitotic progression has been proposed as an attractive therapeutic strategy to impair proliferation of tumour cells. However, how cells survive during prolonged mitotic arrest is not well understood. We show here that survival during mitotic arrest is affected by the special energetic requirements of mitotic cells. Prolonged mitotic arrest results in mitophagy-dependent loss of mitochondria, accompanied by reduced ATP levels and the activation of AMPK. Oxidative respiration is replaced by glycolysis owing to AMPK-dependent phosphorylation of PFKFB3 and increased production of this protein as a consequence of mitotic-specific translational activation of its mRNA. Induction of autophagy or inhibition of AMPK or PFKFB3 results in enhanced cell death in mitosis and improves the anti-tumoral efficiency of microtubule poisons in breast cancer cells. Thus, survival of mitotic-arrested cells is limited by their metabolic requirements, a feature with potential implications in cancer therapies aimed to impair mitosis or metabolism in tumour cells.
    Full-text Article · Aug 2015 · Nature Cell Biology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that incubation for 1h with excess glucose or leucine causes insulin resistance in rat extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle by inhibiting AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). To examine the events that precede and follow these changes, studies were performed in rat EDL incubated with elevated levels of glucose or leucine for 30min-2h. Incubation in high glucose (25mM) or leucine (100μM) significantly diminished AMPK activity by 50% within 30min, with further decreases occurring at 1 and 2h. The initial decrease in activity at 30min coincided with a significant increase in muscle glycogen. The subsequent decreases at 1h were accompanied by phosphorylation of αAMPK at Ser 485/491 , and at 2h by decreased SIRT1 expression and increased PP2A activity, all of which have previously been shown to diminish AMPK activity. Glucose infusion in vivo, which caused several fold increases in plasma glucose and insulin, produced similar changes but with different timing. Thus, the initial decrease in AMPK activity observed at 3h was associated with changes in Ser 485/491 phosphorylation and SIRT1 expression and increased PP2A activity was a later event. These findings suggest that both ex vivo and in vivo, multiple factors contribute to fuel-induced decreases in AMPK activity in skeletal muscle and the insulin resistance that accompanies it.
    Full-text Article · May 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During gestation, hyperphagia is necessary to cope with the metabolic demands of embryonic development. There were three main aims of this study: Firstly, to investigate the impact of pregnancy on hypothalamic fatty acid metabolism, a key pathway for the regulation of energy balance. Secondly, to study whether pregnancy induces resistance to the anorectic effect of fatty acid synthase (FAS) inhibition and accumulation of malonyl-CoA in the hypothalamus, and, thirdly, whether changes in hypothalamic AMPK signaling are associated to BAT thermogenesis during pregnancy. Our data indicate that in pregnant rats, the hypothalamic fatty acid pathway shows an overall state that should lead to anorexia and elevated brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis: decreased activities of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), FAS and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1), coupled to increased acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) function with subsequent elevation of malonyl-CoA levels. This profile seems dependent of estradiol levels, but not prolactin or progesterone. Despite the apparent anorexic and thermogenic signaling in the hypothalamus, pregnant rats remain hyperphagic and display reduced temperature and BAT function. Actually, pregnant rats develop resistance to the anorectic effects of central FAS inhibition, which is associated with a reduction of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) expression and its transcription factors phospho-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (pSTAT3) and phospho-forkhead box O1 (pFoxO1). This evidence demonstrates that pregnancy induces a state of resistance to the anorectic and thermogenic actions of hypothalamic cellular signals of energy surplus, which, in parallel to the already known refractoriness to leptin effects, likely contributes to gestational hyperphagia and adiposity.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2014 · Endocrinology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have highlighted the importance of an inhibitory phosphorylation site, Ser(485/491), on the α-subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); however, little is known about the regulation of this site in liver and skeletal muscle. We examined whether the inhibitory effects of insulin on AMPK activity may be mediated through the phosphorylation of this inhibitory Ser(485/491) site in hepatocytes, myotubes and incubated skeletal muscle. HepG2 and C2C12 cells were stimulated with or without insulin for 15-min. Similarly, rat extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were treated +/- insulin for 10-min. Insulin significantly increased Ser(485/491) p-AMPK under all conditions, resulting in a subsequent reduction in AMPK activity, ranging from 40-70%, despite no change in p-AMPK Thr(172). Akt inhibition both attenuated the increase in Ser(485/491) p-AMPK caused by insulin, and prevented the decrease in AMPK activity. Similarly, the growth factor IGF-1 stimulated Ser(485/491) AMPK phosphorylation, and this too was blunted by inhibition of Akt. Inhibition of the mTOR pathway with rapamycin, however, had no effect on insulin-stimulated Ser(485/491) p-AMPK. These data suggest that insulin and IGF-1 diminish AMPK activity in hepatocytes and muscle, most likely through Akt activation and the inhibitory phosphorylation of Ser(485/491) on its α-subunit.
    Full-text Article · Aug 2014 · Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogens play a major role in the modulation of energy balance through central and peripheral actions. Here, we demonstrate that central action of estradiol (E2) inhibits AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) through estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) selectively in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH), leading to activation of thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) through the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) in a feeding-independent manner. Genetic activation of AMPK in the VMH prevented E2-induced increase in BAT-mediated thermogenesis and weight loss. Notably, fluctuations in E2 levels during estrous cycle also modulate this integrated physiological network. Together, these findings demonstrate that E2 regulation of the VMH AMPK-SNS-BAT axis is an important determinant of energy balance and suggest that dysregulation in this axis may account for the common changes in energy homeostasis and obesity linked to dysfunction of the female gonadal axis
    Full-text Article · Jul 2014 · Cell Metabolism
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disease characterized by insulin resistance, β-cell dysfunction, and elevated hepatic glucose output. Over 350 million people worldwide have T2D, and the International Diabetes Federation projects that this number will increase to nearly 600 million by 2035. There is a great need for more effective treatments for maintaining glucose homeostasis and improving insulin sensitivity. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase whose activation elicits insulin-sensitizing effects, making it an ideal therapeutic target for T2D. AMPK is an energy-sensing enzyme that is activated when cellular energy levels are low, and it signals to stimulate glucose uptake in skeletal muscles, fatty acid oxidation in adipose (and other) tissues, and reduces hepatic glucose production. There is substantial evidence suggesting that AMPK is dysregulated in animals and humans with metabolic syndrome or T2D, and that AMPK activation (physiological or pharmacological) can improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic health. Numerous pharmacological agents, natural compounds, and hormones are known to activate AMPK, either directly or indirectly - some of which (for example, metformin and thiazolidinediones) are currently used to treat T2D. This paper will review the regulation of the AMPK pathway and its role in T2D, some of the known AMPK activators and their mechanisms of action, and the potential for future improvements in targeting AMPK for the treatment of T2D.
    Full-text Article · Jun 2014 · Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy
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    Full-text Dataset · Nov 2013
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efficient coupling of cellular energy production to metabolic demand is crucial to maintain organismal homeostasis. Here, we report that the mitochondrial Sirtuin Sirt4 regulates mitochondrial ATP homeostasis. We find that Sirt4 affects mitochondrial uncoupling via the adenine nucleotide translocator 2 (ANT2). Loss of Sirt4 expression leads to decreased cellular ATP levelsin vitro and in vivo while Sirt4 overexpression is associated with increased ATP levels. Further, we provide evidence that lack of Sirt4 activates a retrograde signaling response from the mitochondria to the nucleus that includes AMPK, PGC1α, key regulators of β-oxidation such as Acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and components of the mitochondrial respiratory machinery. This study highlights the ability of Sirt4 to regulate ATP levels via ANT2 and a feedback loop involving AMPK.
    Full-text Article · Nov 2013 · Aging
  • Dataset · Aug 2013
  • Dataset · Aug 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is well established that chronic exposure to excess nutrients leads to insulin resistance (IR) in skeletal muscle. Since skeletal muscle is responsible for 70-80% of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, skeletal muscle IR is a key pathological component of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Recent evidence suggests that inhibition of the nutrient-sensing enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an early event in the development of IR in response to high glucose, branched chain amino acids (BCAA), or fatty acids (FA). Whether the decrease in AMPK activity is causal to the events leading to insulin resistance (increased mTOR/p70S6K signaling) remains to be determined. Interestingly, pharmacological activation of AMPK can prevent activation of mTOR/p70S6K and insulin resistance, while inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin prevents insulin resistance, but not AMPK downregulation. AMPK can be inhibited by increased energy state (reduced AMP/ATP ratio), decreased phosphorylation of its activation site (αThr172) (by decreased upstream kinase activity or increased phosphatase activity), increased inhibitory phosphorylation at αSer485/491, changes in redox state or hormone levels, or other yet to be identified mechanisms. Excess nutrients also lead to an accumulation of the toxic lipid intermediates diacylglycerol (DAG) and ceramides, both of which can activate various protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms, and contribute to IR. The mechanism responsible for the initial downregulation of AMPK in response to excess nutrients, and whether glucose, BCAA, and FA act through similar or different pathways requires further study. Identification of this mechanism and the relative importance of other events would be beneficial for designing novel pharmacological interventions to prevent and/or reverse IR. This review will focus on the some of the mechanisms responsible for AMPK downregulation and the relative sequence and importance of these events.
    Article · Jul 2013
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    Gaëlle Laurent · Natalie J German · Asish K Saha · [...] · Marcia C Haigis
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipid metabolism is tightly controlled by the nutritional state of the organism. Nutrient-rich conditions increase lipogenesis, whereas nutrient deprivation promotes fat oxidation. In this study, we identify the mitochondrial sirtuin, SIRT4, as a regulator of lipid homeostasis. SIRT4 is active in nutrient-replete conditions to repress fatty acid oxidation while promoting lipid anabolism. SIRT4 deacetylates and inhibits malonyl CoA decarboxylase (MCD), an enzyme that produces acetyl CoA from malonyl CoA. Malonyl CoA provides the carbon skeleton for lipogenesis and also inhibits fat oxidation. Mice lacking SIRT4 display elevated MCD activity and decreased malonyl CoA in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue. Consequently, SIRT4 KO mice display deregulated lipid metabolism, leading to increased exercise tolerance and protection against diet-induced obesity. In sum, this work elucidates SIRT4 as an important regulator of lipid homeostasis, identifies MCD as a SIRT4 target, and deepens our understanding of the malonyl CoA regulatory axis.
    Full-text Article · Jun 2013 · Molecular cell
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    Asish K Saha · X Julia Xu · Thomas W Balon · [...] · Neil B Ruderman
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has long been known that excesses of glucose and branched chain amino acids, such as leucine, lead to insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. A recent study in incubated rat muscle suggests that both molecules may do so by virtue of their ability to downregulate the fuel sensing and signaling enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and activate mTOR/p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) signaling. The results also demonstrated that inhibition of mTOR/p70S6K with rapamycin prevented the development of insulin resistance but had no effect on AMPK activity (Thr172 phosphorylation of its catalytic subunit). In contrast, activation of AMPK by both AICAR and α-lipoic acid led to the phosphorylation of specific molecules that diminished both mTOR/p70S6K signaling and insulin resistance. These findings suggest that downregulation of AMPK precedes mTOR/p70S6K activation in mediating glucose and leucine-induced insulin resistance, although the mechanism by which it does so remains to be determined. Also requiring study is how an excess of the two nutrients leads to AMPK downregulation.
    Full-text Article · Oct 2011 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucose infusion into rats causes skeletal muscle insulin resistance that initially occurs without changes in insulin signaling. The aim of the current study was to prolong glucose infusion and evaluate other events associated with the transition to muscle insulin resistance. Hyperglycemia was produced in rats by glucose infusion for 3, 5 and 8 h. The rate of infusion required to maintain hyperglycemia was reduced at 5 and 8 h. Glucose uptake into red quadriceps (RQ) and its incorporation into glycogen decreased between 3 and 5 h, further decreasing at 8 h. The earliest observed change in RQ was decreased AMPKα2 activity associated with large increases in muscle glycogen content at 3 h. Activation of the mTOR pathway occurred at 5 h. Akt phosphorylation (Ser(473)) was decreased at 8 h compared to 3 and 5, although no decrease in phosphorylation of downstream GSK-3β (Ser(9)) and AS160 (Thr(642)) was observed. White quadriceps showed a similar but delayed pattern, with insulin resistance developing by 8 h and decreased AMPKα2 activity at 5 h. These results indicate that, in the presence of a nutrient overload, alterations in muscle insulin signaling occur, but after insulin resistance develops and appropriate changes in energy/nutrient sensing pathways occur.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2011 · Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
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    Asish K Saha · X Julia Xu · Ebony Lawson · [...] · Neil B Ruderman
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Branched-chain amino acids, such as leucine and glucose, stimulate protein synthesis and increase the phosphorylation and activity of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and its downstream target p70S6 kinase (p70S6K). We examined in skeletal muscle whether the effects of leucine and glucose on these parameters and on insulin resistance are mediated by the fuel-sensing enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Rat extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle was incubated with different concentrations of leucine and glucose with or without AMPK activators. Muscle obtained from glucose-infused rats was also used as a model. In the EDL, incubation with 100 or 200 μmol/l leucine versus no added leucine suppressed the activity of the α2 isoform of AMPK by 50 and 70%, respectively, and caused concentration-dependent increases in protein synthesis and mTOR and p70S6K phosphorylation. Very similar changes were observed in EDL incubated with 5.5 or 25 mmol/l versus no added glucose and in muscle of rats infused with glucose in vivo. Incubation of the EDL with the higher concentrations of both leucine and glucose also caused insulin resistance, reflected by a decrease in insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation. Coincubation with the AMPK activators AICAR and α-lipoic acid substantially prevented all of those changes and increased the phosphorylation of specific sites of mTOR inhibitors raptor and tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2). In contrast, decreases in AMPK activity induced by leucine and glucose were not associated with a decrease in raptor or TSC2 phosphorylation. The results indicate that both leucine and glucose modulate protein synthesis and mTOR/p70S6 and insulin signaling in skeletal muscle by a common mechanism. They also suggest that the effects of both molecules are associated with a decrease in AMPK activity and that AMPK activation prevents them.
    Full-text Article · Oct 2010 · Diabetes
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thyroid hormones have widespread cellular effects; however it is unclear whether their effects on the central nervous system (CNS) contribute to global energy balance. Here we demonstrate that either whole-body hyperthyroidism or central administration of triiodothyronine (T3) decreases the activity of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), increases sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity and upregulates thermogenic markers in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Inhibition of the lipogenic pathway in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) prevents CNS-mediated activation of BAT by thyroid hormone and reverses the weight loss associated with hyperthyroidism. Similarly, inhibition of thyroid hormone receptors in the VMH reverses the weight loss associated with hyperthyroidism. This regulatory mechanism depends on AMPK inactivation, as genetic inhibition of this enzyme in the VMH of euthyroid rats induces feeding-independent weight loss and increases expression of thermogenic markers in BAT. These effects are reversed by pharmacological blockade of the SNS. Thus, thyroid hormone-induced modulation of AMPK activity and lipid metabolism in the hypothalamus is a major regulator of whole-body energy homeostasis.
    Full-text Article · Sep 2010 · Nature medicine
  • Dataset · Aug 2010
  • Dataset · Aug 2010
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3)-3-bromoacetate (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE) is a vitamin D receptor-alkylating derivative of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3). The strong dose-dependent antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of this compound in androgen-sensitive and androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells have been reported. In this communication, it is reported that 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE strongly inhibits the growth of several pancreatic cancer cell lines. This effect is further accentuated by combination with 5-amino-imidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-4-ribofuranoside (AICAR), an activator of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/acetyl-Co-enzyme A carboxylase (ACC) phosphorylation pathways and an inhibitor of Akt phosphorylation. It was observed that the anti-growth property of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE, either alone or in combination with AICAR resulted in the inhibition of Akt phosphorylation in BxPC-3 cells. In conclusion, 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE displays a strong therapeutic potential, alone and in combination with AICAR, in pancreatic cancer.
    Article · Jun 2010 · Anticancer research

Publication Stats

6k Citations


  • 2013
    • Boston Medical Center
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Cambridge
      • Department of Clinical Biochemistry
      Cambridge, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2002-2003
    • Boston University
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States