AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a key role in the regulation of energy homeostasis and is activated in response to cellular stress, including hypoxia/ischemia and hyperglycemia. The stress events are accompanied by rapid release of extracellular nucleotides from damaged tissues or activated endothelial cells (EC) and platelets. We demonstrate that extracellular nucleotides (ATP, ADP and UTP, but not UDP) and adenosine independently induce phosphorylation and activation of AMPK in human umbilical vein EC (HUVEC) by the mechanism that is not linked to changes in AMP:ATP ratio. HUVEC express NTPDases, as well as 5′-nucleotidase, hence nucleotides can be metabolized to adenosine. However, inhibition of 5′- nucleotidase had no effect on ATP/ADP/UTP-induced phosphorylation of AMPK, indicating that AMPK activation occurred as a direct response to nucleotides. Nucleotide-evoked phosphorylation of AMPK in HUVEC was mediated by P2Y1, P2Y2 and/or P2Y4 receptors, while P2Y6, P2Y11 and P2X receptors were not involved. The nucleotide-induced phosphorylation of AMPK was affected by changes in the concentration of intracellular Ca2+ and by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase (CaMKK), while most likely it was not dependent on LKB1 kinase. Adenosine-induced phosphorylation of AMPK was not mediated by P1 receptors but required adenosine uptake by equilibrative nucleoside transporters followed by its (intracellular) metabolism to AMP but not inosine. Moreover, adenosine effect was Ca2+- and CaMKK-independent while probably associated with upstream LKB1. We hypothesize that P2 receptors and adenosine transporters could be novel targets for the pharmacologic regulation of AMPK activity and its downstream effects on EC function.
endothelial cells; AMP-activated protein kinase; P2 receptors; adenosine; CaMKK
Background and purpose
Pulmonary transepithelial Na+ transport is reduced by hypoxia but in the airway the regulatory mechanisms remain unclear. We investigated the role of AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the hypoxic regulation of apical amiloride-sensitive Na+ channels and basolateral Na+K+ATPase activity.
H441 human airway epithelial cells were used to examine the effects of hypoxia on Na+ transport, AMP:ATP ratio and AMPK activity. Lentiviral constructs were used to modify cellular AMPK abundance and activity; pharmacological agents were used to modify cellular ROS.
AMPK was activated by exposure to 3% or 0.2% O2 for 60 minutes in cells grown in submerged culture or when fluid (0.1ml.cm−2) was added to the apical surface of cells grown at air-liquid-interface. Only exposure to 0.2% O2 activated AMPK in cells grown at air-liquid-interface. Activation of AMPK was associated with elevation of the cellular AMP:ATP ratio and activity of the upstream kinase LKB1. Hypoxia inhibited basolateral ouabain-sensitive Isc (Iouabain) and apical amiloride-sensitive Na+ conductance (GNa+). Modification of AMPK activity abrogated the effect of hypoxia on Iouabain (Na+K+ ATPase) but not apical GNa+. Scavenging of superoxide (O2−) and inhibition of NADPH oxidase prevented the effect of hypoxia on apical GNa+ (Epithelial Na+ channels, ENaC).
Conclusions and Implications
Hypoxia activates AMPK-dependent and -independent pathways in airway epithelial cells. Importantly, these pathways differentially regulate apical Na+ channels and basolateral Na+K+ATPase activity to decrease transepithelial Na+ transport. The finding that luminal fluid potentiated the effect of hypoxia and activated AMPK could have important consequences in lung disease conditions.
AMPK; ROS; airway; epithelium; Na+K+ATPase; ENaC
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is activated by increases in the intracellular AMP:ATP ratio and plays a central role in cellular responses to metabolic stress. While activation of AMPK has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, there is little information concerning the role that AMPK may play in modulating neutrophil function and neutrophil-dependent inflammatory events, such as acute lung injury. To examine these issues, we determined the effects of pharmacological activators of AMPK, 5-amino-4-imidazole carboxamide riboside (AICAR) and barberine, on TLR4 induced neutrophil activation. AICAR and barberine dose dependently activated AMPK in murine bone marrow neutrophils. Exposure of LPS-stimulated neutrophils to AICAR or barberine inhibited release of TNF-α and IL-6, as well as degradation of IκBα and nuclear translocation of NF-κB, as compared to findings in neutrophil cultures that contained LPS without AICAR or barberine. Administration of AICAR to mice resulted in activation of AMPK in the lungs and was associated with decreased severity of LPS-induced lung injury, as determined by diminished neutrophil accumulation in the lungs, reduced interstitial pulmonary edema, and diminished levels of TNF-α and IL-6 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. These results suggest that AMPK activation reduces TLR4 induced neutrophil activation and diminishes the severity of neutrophil driven proinflammatory processes, including acute lung injury.
AMPK; neutrophil; NF-κB; cytokine; acute lung injury
Adenosine monophosphate – activated kinase (AMPK) plays a key role in the coordination of the heart’s anabolic and catabolic pathways. It induces a cellular cascade at the center of maintaining energy homeostasis in the cardiomyocytes.. The activated AMPK is a heterotrimeric protein, separated into a catalytic α - subunit (63kDa), a regulating β - subunit (38kDa) and a γ - subunit (38kDa), which is allosterically adjusted by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP). The actual binding of AMP to the γ – subunit is the step which activates AMPK.
AMPK serves also as a protein kinase in several metabolic pathways of the heart, including cellular energy sensoring or cardiovascular protection. The AMPK cascade represents a sensitive system, activated by cellular stresses that deplete ATP and acts as an indicator of intracellular ATP/AMP. In the context of cellular stressors (i.e. hypoxia, pressure overload, hypertrophy or ATP deficiency) the increasing levels of AMP promote allosteric activation and phosphorylation of AMPK. As the concentration of AMP begins to increase, ATP competitively inhibits further phosphorylation of AMPK. The increase of AMP may also be induced either from an iatrogenic emboli, percutaneous coronary intervention, or from atherosclerotic plaque rupture leading to an ischemia in the microcirculation. To modulate energy metabolism by phosphorylation and dephosphorylation is vital in terms of ATP usage, maintaining transmembrane transporters and preserving membrane potential.
In this article, we review AMPK and its role as an important regulatory enzyme during periods of myocardial stress, regulating energy metabolism, protein synthesis and cardiovascular protection.
Adenosine monophosphate - activated protein kinase; AMPK; heart failure; cardiac energy metabolism.
The glucose-lowering drug metformin has been shown to activate hepatic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master kinase regulating cellular energy homeostasis. However, the underlying mechanisms remain controversial and have never been investigated in primary human hepatocytes.
Hepatocytes isolated from rat, mouse and human livers were treated with various concentrations of metformin. Isoform-specific AMPKα abundance and activity, as well as intracellular adenine nucleotide levels and mitochondrial oxygen consumption rates were determined at different time points.
Metformin dose- and time-dependently increased AMPK activity in rat and human hepatocytes, an effect associated with a significant rise in cellular AMP:ATP ratio. Surprisingly, we found that AMPKα2 activity was undetectable in human compared with rat hepatocytes, while AMPKα1 activities were comparable. Accordingly, metformin only increased AMPKα1 activity in human hepatocytes, although both AMPKα isoforms were activated in rat hepatocytes. Analysis of mRNA expression and protein levels confirmed that only AMPKα1 is present in human hepatocytes; it also showed that the distribution of β and γ regulatory subunits differed between species. Finally, we demonstrated that the increase in AMP:ATP ratio in hepatocytes from liver-specific Ampkα1/2 (also known as Prkaa1/2) knockout mice and humans is due to a similar and specific inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory-chain complex 1 by metformin.
Activation of hepatic AMPK by metformin results from a decrease in cellular energy status owing to metformin’s AMPK-independent inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory-chain complex 1. The unique profile of AMPK subunits found in human hepatocytes should be considered when developing new pharmacological agents to target the kinase.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-011-2311-5) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
AMP:ATP ratio; AMPK; Hepatocytes; Human; Metformin; Mitochondria; Respiratory-chain complex 1
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an energy sensor activated by increases in [AMP] or by oxidant stress (reactive oxygen species [ROS]). Hypoxia increases cellular ROS signaling, but the pathways underlying subsequent AMPK activation are not known. We tested the hypothesis that hypoxia activates AMPK by ROS-mediated opening of calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channels. Hypoxia (1.5% O2) augments cellular ROS as detected by the redox-sensitive green fluorescent protein (roGFP) but does not increase the [AMP]/[ATP] ratio. Increases in intracellular calcium during hypoxia were detected with Fura2 and the calcium-calmodulin fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensor YC2.3. Antioxidant treatment or removal of extracellular calcium abrogates hypoxia-induced calcium signaling and subsequent AMPK phosphorylation during hypoxia. Oxidant stress triggers relocation of stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1), the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ sensor, to the plasma membrane. Knockdown of STIM1 by short interfering RNA (siRNA) attenuates the calcium responses to hypoxia and subsequent AMPK phosphorylation, while inhibition of L-type calcium channels has no effect. Knockdown of the AMPK upstream kinase LKB1 by siRNA does not prevent AMPK activation during hypoxia, but knockdown of CaMKKβ abolishes the AMPK response. These findings reveal that hypoxia can trigger AMPK activation in the apparent absence of increased [AMP] through ROS-dependent CRAC channel activation, leading to increases in cytosolic calcium that activate the AMPK upstream kinase CaMKKβ.
The heterotrimeric AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a key role in regulating cellular energy metabolism; in response to a fall in intracellular ATP levels it activates energy producing pathways and inhibits energy consuming processes1. AMPK has been implicated in a number of diseases related to energy metabolism including type 2 diabetes, obesity and, most recently, cancer 2,3,4,5,6. AMPK is converted from an inactive to catalytically competent form by phosphorylation of the activation loop within the kinase domain7; AMP binding to the γ regulatory domain promotes phosphorylation by the upstream kinase8, protects the enzyme against dephosphorylation as well as causing allosteric activation9. We show here that ADP binding to just one of the two exchangeable AXP binding sites on the regulatory domain protects the enzyme from dephosphorylation, although it does not lead to allosteric activation. Our studies show that active AMPK displays significantly tighter binding to ADP than to Mg.ATP, explaining how the enzyme is regulated under physiological conditions where the concentration of Mg.ATP is higher than that of ADP and much higher than that of AMP. We have determined the crystal structure of an active AMPK complex. It shows how the activation loop of the kinase domain is stabilized by the regulatory domain and how the kinase linker region interacts with the regulatory nucleotide binding site that mediates protection against dephosphorylation. From our biochemical and structural data we develop a model for how the energy status of a cell regulates AMPK activity (Supplementary Fig. 1).
All living organisms depend on dynamic mechanisms that repeatedly reassess the status of amassed energy, in order to adapt energy supply to demand. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) αβγ heterotrimer has emerged as an important integrator of signals managing energy balance. Control of AMPK activity involves allosteric AMP and ATP regulation, auto-inhibitory features and phosphorylation of its catalytic (α) and regulatory (β and γ) subunits. AMPK has a prominent role not only as a peripheral sensor but also in the central nervous system as a multifunctional metabolic regulator. AMPK represents an ideal second messenger for reporting cellular energy state. For this reason, activated AMPK acts as a protective response to energy stress in numerous systems. However, AMPK inhibition also actively participates in the control of whole body energy homeostasis. In this review, we discuss recent findings that support the role and function of AMPK inhibition under physiological and pathological states.
AMP-Activated Protein Kinases; chemistry; metabolism; Animals; Down-Regulation; Energy Metabolism; Enzyme Activation; Humans; Energy balance; metabolism; inhibition; AMPK; metabolic diseases
Palmitate increased AMPK (5′-AMP-activated protein kinase) activity, glucose utilization and 2-DOG (2-deoxyglucose) transport in rat adipocytes. All three effects were blocked by the AMPK inhibitor Compound C, leading to the conclusion that in response to an increase in long-chain NEFA (non-esterified fatty acid) concentration AMPK mediated an enhancement of adipocyte glucose transport, thereby providing increased glycerol 3-phosphate for FA (fatty acid) esterification to TAG (triacylglycerol). Activation of AMPK in response to palmitate was not due to an increase in the adipocyte AMP:ATP ratio. Glucose decreased AMPK activity and effects of palmitate and glucose on AMPK activity were antagonistic. While insulin had no effect on basal AMPK activity insulin did decrease AMPK activity in the presence of palmitate and also decreased the percentage effectiveness of palmitate to increase the transport of 2-DOG. It is suggested that activation of adipocyte AMPK by NEFA, as well as decreasing the activity of hormone-sensitive lipase, could modulate adipose tissue dynamics by increasing FA esterification and, under certain circumstances, FA synthesis.
acute regulation; adipocyte; AMP kinase; fatty acid; glucose; insulin; ACC, acetyl-CoA carboxylase; AICAR, 5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide-1-β-D-ribofuranoside; AMPK, 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase; 2-DOG, 2-deoxyglucose; FA, fatty acid; GLUT4, glucose transporter 4; LPL, lipoprotein lipase; NEFA, non-esterified fatty acid; PDH, pyruvate dehydrogenase; PI3K, phosphoinositide 3-kinase; TAG, triacylglycerol
Adenosine Monophosphate-activated Protein Kinase (AMPK), a serine/threonine kinase and a member of the Snf1/AMPK protein kinase family, consists of three protein subunits that together make a functional enzyme. AMPK, which is expressed in a number of tissues, including the liver, brain, and skeletal muscle, is allosterically activated by a rise in the AMP: ATP ratio (ie in a low ATP or energy depleted state). The net effect of AMPK activation is to halt energy consuming (anabolic) pathways but to promote energy conserving (catabolic) cellular pathways. AMPK has therefore often been dubbed the “metabolic master switch”. AMPK also plays a critical physiological role in the cardiovascular system. Increasing evidence suggest that AMPK might also function as a sensor by responding to oxidative stress. Mostly importantly, AMPK modulates endogenous antioxidant gene expression and/or suppress the production of oxidants. AMPK promotes cardiovascular homeostasis by ensuring an optimum redox balance on the heart and vascular tissues. Dysfunctional AMPK is thought to underlie several cardiovascular pathologies. Here we review this kinase from its structure and discovery to current knowledge of its adaptive and maladaptive role in the cardiovascular system.
AMPK; cardiovascular physiology; cardiovascular system; oxidative stress; atherosclerosis
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) directly activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in vivo and in vitro; however, the mechanism by which it does so is unknown.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We examined this question in skeletal muscle using an incubated rat extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle preparation as a tool.
AMPK activation by IL-6 coincided temporally with a nearly threefold increase in the AMP:ATP ratio in the EDL. The effects of IL-6 on both AMPK activity and energy state were inhibited by coincubation with propranolol, suggesting involvement of β-adrenergic signaling. In keeping with this notion, IL-6 concurrently induced a transient increase in cAMP, and its ability to activate AMPK was blocked by the adenyl cyclase inhibitor 2′5′-dideoxyadenosine. In addition, like other β-adrenergic stimuli, IL-6 increased glycogen breakdown and lipolysis in the EDL. Similar effects of IL-6 on AMPK, energy state, and cAMP content were observed in C2C12 myotubes and gastrocnemius muscle in vivo, indicating that they were not unique to the incubated EDL.
These studies demonstrate that IL-6 activates AMPK in skeletal muscle by increasing the concentration of cAMP and, secondarily, the AMP:ATP ratio. They also suggest that substantial increases in IL-6 concentrations, such as those that can result from its synthesis by muscles during exercise, may play a role in the mobilization of fuel stores within skeletal muscle as an added means of restoring energy balance.
The adenosine monophosphate (AMP)–activated protein kinase (AMPK) has a crucial role in maintaining cellular energy homeostasis. This study shows that human and mouse T lymphocytes express AMPKα1 and that this is rapidly activated in response to triggering of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR). TCR stimulation of AMPK was dependent on the adaptors LAT and SLP76 and could be mimicked by the elevation of intracellular Ca2+ with Ca2+ ionophores or thapsigargin. AMPK activation was also induced by energy stress and depletion of cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP). However, TCR and Ca2+ stimulation of AMPK required the activity of Ca2+–calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinases (CaMKKs), whereas AMPK activation induced by increased AMP/ATP ratios did not. These experiments reveal two distinct pathways for the regulation of AMPK in T lymphocytes. The role of AMPK is to promote ATP conservation and production. The rapid activation of AMPK in response to Ca2+ signaling in T lymphocytes thus reveals that TCR triggering is linked to an evolutionally conserved serine kinase that regulates energy metabolism. Moreover, AMPK does not just react to cellular energy depletion but also anticipates it.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a sensor of cellular energy status found in metazoans that is known to be activated by stimuli that increase the cellular AMP/ATP ratio. Full activation of AMPK requires specific phosphorylation within the activation loop of the catalytic domain of the α-subunit by upstream kinases such as the serine/threonine protein kinase LKB1. Here we show that hypoxia activates AMPK through LKB1 without an increase in the AMP/ATP ratio. Hypoxia increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and the antioxidant EUK-134 abolished the hypoxic activation of AMPK. Cells deficient in mitochondrial DNA (ρ0 cells) failed to activate AMPK during hypoxia but are able to in the presence of exogenous H2O2. Furthermore, we provide genetic evidence that ROS generated within the mitochondrial electron transport chain and not oxidative phosphorylation is required for hypoxic activation of AMPK. Collectively, these data indicate that oxidative stress and not an increase in the AMP/ATP ratio is required for hypoxic activation of AMPK.
AMP-activated kinase; Hypoxia; LKB1; Mitochondria; Reactive oxygen species; Free radicals
AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) is a heterotrimetric enzyme that is expressed in many tissues, including the heart and vasculature, and plays a central role in the regulation of energy homoeostasis. It is activated in response to stresses that lead to an increase in the cellular AMP/ATP ratio caused either by inhibition of ATP production (i.e. anoxia or ischaemia) or by accelerating ATP consumption (i.e. muscle contraction or fasting). In the heart, AMPK activity increases during ischaemia and functions to sustain ATP, cardiac function and myocardial viability. There is increasing evidence that AMPK is implicated in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. A principle mode of AMPK activation is phosphorylation by upstream kinases [e.g. LKB1 and CaMK (Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase], which leads to direct effects on tissues and phosphorylation of various downstream kinases [e.g. eEF2 (eukaryotic elongation factor 2) kinase and p70 S6 kinase]. These upstream and downstream kinases of AMPK have fundamental roles in glucose metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, protein synthesis and tumour suppression; consequently, they have been implicated in cardiac ischaemia, arrhythmias and hypertrophy. Recent mechanistic studies have shown that AMPK has an important role in the mechanism of action of MF (metformin), TDZs (thiazolinediones) and statins. Increased understanding of the beneficial effects of AMPK activation provides the rationale for targeting AMPK in the development of new therapeutic strategies for cardiometabolic disease.
5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide riboside-1-β-D-ribofuranoside (AICAR); AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); cardiovascular disease; insulin resistance; metformin; obesity; ACC, acetyl-CoA carboxylase; AICAR, 5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide riboside-1-β-D-ribofuranoside; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; CaMK, Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase; CPT-1, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1; CVD, cardiovascular disease; eEF2, eukaryotic elongation factor 2; eNOS, endothelial NO synthase; GLUT-4, glucose transporter-4; HF, heart failure; CHF, chronic HF; HMG-CoA, 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-CoA; IL-6, interleukin-6; LV, left ventricular; MF, metformin; MI, myocardial infarction; MO25, mouse protein 25; mTOR, mammalian target of rapamycin; NEFA, non-esterified fatty acid (‘free fatty acid’); p70RSK, p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase; PDH, pyruvate dehydrogenase; PFK-2, phosphofructokinase-2; PPAR-γ, peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor-γ; PROactive, PROspective pioglitAzone Clinical Trial In macroVascular Events; STRAD, Ste20-related adaptor; TNF-α, tumour necrosis factor-α; TZD, thiazolinedione
The AMP-activated serine/threonine protein kinase (AMPK) is a sensor of cellular energy status found in all eukaryotes that is activated under conditions of low intracellular ATP following stresses such as nutrient deprivation or hypoxia. In the past five years, work from a large number of laboratories has revealed that one of the major downstream signaling pathways regulated by AMPK is the mammalian target-of-rapamycin (mTOR pathway). Interestingly, like AMPK, the mTOR serine/threonine kinase plays key roles not only in growth control and cell proliferation but also in metabolism. Recent work has revealed that across eukaryotes mTOR orthologs are found in two biochemically distinct complexes and only one of those complexes (mTORC1 in mammals) is acutely sensitive to rapamycin and regulated by nutrients and AMPK. Many details of the molecular mechanism by which AMPK inhibits mTORC1 signaling have also been decoded in the past 5 years. AMPK directly phosphorylates at least two proteins to induce rapid suppression of mTORC1 activity, the TSC2 tumor suppressor and the critical mTORC1 binding subunit raptor. Here we explore the molecular connections between AMPK and mTOR signaling pathways and examine the physiological processes in which AMPK regulation of mTOR is critical for growth or metabolic control. The functional conservation of AMPK and TOR in all eukaryotes, and the sequence conservation around the AMPK phosphorylation sites in raptor across all eukaryotes examined suggest that this represents a fundamental cell growth module connecting nutrient status to the cell growth machinery. These findings have broad implications for the control of cell growth by nutrients in a number of cellular and organismal contexts.
LKB1; AMPK; mTOR; raptor; TSC2; metabolism; checkpoint
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an important regulator of cellular energy status. In adipocytes, stimuli that increase intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP) have also been shown to increase the activity of AMPK. The precise molecular mechanisms responsible for cAMP-induced AMPK activation are not clear. Phosphodiesterase 3B (PDE3B) is a critical regulator of cAMP signalling in adipocytes. Here we investigated the roles of PDE3B, PDE4, protein kinase B (PKB) and the exchange protein activated by cAMP 1 (Epac1), as well as lipolysis, in the regulation of AMPK in primary rat adipocytes. We demonstrate that the increase in phosphorylation of AMPK at T172 induced by the adrenergic agonist isoproterenol can be diminished by co-incubation with insulin. The diminishing effect of insulin on AMPK activation was reversed upon treatment with the PDE3B specific inhibitor OPC3911 but not with the PDE4 inhibitor Rolipram. Adenovirus-mediated overexpression of PDE3B and constitutively active PKB both resulted in greatly reduced isoproterenol-induced phosphorylation of AMPK at T172. Co-incubation of adipocytes with isoproterenol and the PKA inhibitor H89 resulted in a total ablation of lipolysis and a reduction in AMPK phosphorylation/activation. Stimulation of adipocytes with the Epac1 agonist 8-pCPT-2’O-Me-cAMP led to increased phosphorylation of AMPK at T172. The general lipase inhibitor Orlistat decreased isoproterenol-induced phosphorylation of AMPK at T172. This decrease corresponded to a reduction of lipolysis from adipocytes. Taken together, these data suggest that PDE3B and PDE4 regulate cAMP pools that affect the activation/phosphorylation state of AMPK and that the effects of cyclic AMP on AMPK involve Epac1, PKA and lipolysis.
PDE3B; PDE4; Epac; AMPK; PKA; lipolysis; cAMP; adipocytes
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is activated when the AMP/ATP ratio in cells is elevated due to energy stress. Here we describe a biosensor, AMPKAR, which exhibits enhanced fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) in response to phosphorylation by AMPK, allowing spatio-temporal monitoring of AMPK activity in single cells. We show that this reporter responds to a variety of stimuli that are known to induce energy stress and that the response is dependent on AMPK α1 & α2 and on the upstream kinase, LKB1. Interestingly we found that AMPK activation is confined to the cytosol in response to energy stress but can be observed in both the cytosol and nucleus in response to calcium elevation. Finally, using this probe with U2OS cells in a microfluidics device, we observed a very high cell-to-cell variability in the amplitude and time course of AMPK activation and recovery in response to pulses of glucose deprivation.
Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction is a vital homeostatic mechanism that aids ventilation-perfusion matching in the lung, for which the underlying mechanism(s) remains controversial. However, our most recent investigations strongly suggest that hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction is precipitated, at least in part, by the inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation by hypoxia, an increase in the AMP / ATP ratio and consequent activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Unfortunately, these studies lacked the definitive proof that can only be provided by selectively blocking AMPK-dependent signalling cascades. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to determine the effects of the AMPK inhibitor compound C upon: (1) phosphorylation in response to hypoxia of a classical AMPK substrate, acetyle CoA carboxylase, in rat pulmonary arterial smooth muscle and (2) hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in rat isolated intrapulmonary arteries. Acetyl CoA carboxylase phosphorylation was increased approximately 3 fold in the presence of hypoxia (pO2 = 16-21 mm Hg, 1 h) and 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide riboside (AICAR; 1 mM; 4 h) and in a manner that was significantly attenuated by the AMPK antagonist compound C (40 μM). Most importantly, pre-incubation of intrapulmonary arteries with compound C (40 μM) inhibited phase II, but not phase I, of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Likewise, compound C (40 μM) inhibited constriction by AICAR (1 mM). The results of the present study are consistent with the activation of AMPK being a key event in the initiation of the contractile response of pulmonary arteries to acute hypoxia.
AMP-activated protein kinase; hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction; compound C; AICAR
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection induces several metabolic activities that have been found to be important for viral replication. The cellular AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a metabolic stress response kinase that regulates both energy-producing catabolic processes and energy-consuming anabolic processes. Here we explore the role AMPK plays in generating an environment conducive to HCMV replication. We find that HCMV infection induces AMPK activity, resulting in the phosphorylation and increased abundance of several targets downstream of activated AMPK. Pharmacological and RNA-based inhibition of AMPK blocked the glycolytic activation induced by HCMV-infection, but had little impact on the glycolytic pathway of uninfected cells. Furthermore, inhibition of AMPK severely attenuated HCMV replication suggesting that AMPK is an important cellular factor for HCMV replication. Inhibition of AMPK attenuated early and late gene expression as well as viral DNA synthesis, but had no detectable impact on immediate-early gene expression, suggesting that AMPK activity is important at the immediate early to early transition of viral gene expression. Lastly, we find that inhibition of the Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase (CaMKK), a kinase known to activate AMPK, blocks HCMV-mediated AMPK activation. The combined data suggest a model in which HCMV activates AMPK through CaMKK, and depends on their activation for high titer replication, likely through induction of a metabolic environment conducive to viral replication.
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous human pathogen that is a major cause of birth defects. HCMV can also cause severe disease in immunocompromised individuals including transplant recipients, leukemia patients and those infected with HIV. It is clear that upon infection, HCMV takes control of numerous cellular processes that are important for the virus to generate the next round of infectious virions. We have previously found that upon infection, HCMV reprograms the metabolic activity of the host-cell. Here, we find that this metabolic reprogramming largely depends on the viral activation of a cellular protein called the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is a central regulator of cellular energy production that is typically only activated when cellular energy stores are very low. Our results indicate that HCMV-mediated activation of AMPK is necessary to flip the metabolic switch thereby driving host-cell metabolic activation and viral replication. As inhibition of AMPK blocked viral replication, and had little impact on uninfected host-cell metabolism, targeting AMPK could have therapeutic potential to treat HCMV-associated disease.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection increases synthetic rates in infected cells. The resulting increase in energy utilization could potentially increase the AMP:ATP ratio, causing activation of 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Activated AMPK promotes inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase, which could be deleterious to the viral infection. Using the AMPK-activating drug 5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide ribose (AICAR), we showed that, by 12 h post-HCMV infection, inhibition of mTOR by AMPK is circumvented. However, growth curves showed that progeny virion production is inhibited when AICAR is added, suggesting other inhibitory effects of AICAR or activated AMPK.
Hypoxia promotes Na,K-ATPase endocytosis via protein kinase Cζ (PKCζ)-mediated phosphorylation of the Na,K-ATPase α subunit. Here, we report that hypoxia leads to the phosphorylation of 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) at Thr172 in rat alveolar epithelial cells. The overexpression of a dominant-negative AMPK α subunit (AMPK-DN) construct prevented the hypoxia-induced endocytosis of Na,K-ATPase. The overexpression of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger catalase prevented hypoxia-induced AMPK activation. Moreover, hypoxia failed to activate AMPK in mitochondrion-deficient ρ0-A549 cells, suggesting that mitochondrial ROS play an essential role in hypoxia-induced AMPK activation. Hypoxia-induced PKCζ translocation to the plasma membrane and phosphorylation at Thr410 were prevented by the pharmacological inhibition of AMPK or by the overexpression of the AMPK-DN construct. We found that AMPK α phosphorylates PKCζ on residue Thr410 within the PKCζ activation loop. Importantly, the activation of AMPK α was necessary for hypoxia-induced AMPK-PKCζ binding in alveolar epithelial cells. The overexpression of T410A mutant PKCζ prevented hypoxia-induced Na,K-ATPase endocytosis, confirming that PKCζ Thr410 phosphorylation is essential for this process. PKCζ activation by AMPK is isoform specific, as small interfering RNA targeting the α1 but not the α2 catalytic subunit prevented PKCζ activation. Accordingly, we provide the first evidence that hypoxia-generated mitochondrial ROS lead to the activation of the AMPK α1 isoform, which binds and directly phosphorylates PKCζ at Thr410, thereby promoting Na,K-ATPase endocytosis.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a phylogenetically conserved
serine/threonine protein kinase, has been proposed to function as a
‘fuel gauge’ to monitor cellular energy status in response to
nutritional environmental variations. AMPK system is a regulator of energy
balance that, once activated by low energy status, switches on ATP-producing
catabolic pathways (such as fatty acid oxidation and glycolysis), and switches
off ATP-consuming anabolic pathways (such as lipogenesis), both by short-term
effect on phosphorylation of regulatory proteins and by long-term effect on gene
expression. Numerous observations obtained with pharmacological activators and
agents that deplete intracellular ATP have been supportive of AMPK playing a
role in the control of energy metabolism but none of these studies have provided
conclusive evidence. Relatively recent developments in our understanding of
precisely how AMPK complexes might operate to control energy metabolism is due
in part to the development of transgenic and knockout mouse models. Although
there are inevitable caveats with genetic models, some important findings have
emerged. In the present review, we discuss recent findings obtained from animal
models with inhibition or activation of AMPK signaling pathway.
Recent studies indicate that the LKB1 is a key regulator of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which plays a crucial role in protecting cardiac muscle from damage during ischemia. We have employed mice that lack LKB1 in cardiac and skeletal muscle and studied how this affected the activity of cardiac AMPKα1/α2 under normoxic, ischemic, and anoxic conditions. In the heart lacking cardiac muscle LKB1, the basal activity of AMPKα2 was vastly reduced and not increased by ischemia or anoxia. Phosphorylation of AMPKα2 at the site of LKB1 phosphorylation (Thr172) or phosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase-2, a downstream substrate of AMPK, was ablated in ischemic heart lacking cardiac LKB1. Ischemia was found to increase the ADP-to-ATP (ADP/ATP) and AMP-to-ATP ratios (AMP/ATP) to a greater extent in LKB1-deficient cardiac muscle than in LKB1-expressing muscle. In contrast to AMPKα2, significant basal activity of AMPKα1 was observed in the lysates from the hearts lacking cardiac muscle LKB1, as well as in cardiomyocytes that had been isolated from these hearts. In the heart lacking cardiac LKB1, ischemia or anoxia induced a marked activation and phosphorylation of AMPKα1, to a level that was only moderately lower than observed in LKB1-expressing heart. Echocardiographic and morphological analysis of the cardiac LKB1-deficient hearts indicated that these hearts were not overtly dysfunctional, despite possessing a reduced weight and enlarged atria. These findings indicate that LKB1 plays a crucial role in regulating AMPKα2 activation and acetyl-CoA carboxylase-2 phosphorylation and also regulating cellular energy levels in response to ischemia. They also provide genetic evidence that an alternative upstream kinase can activate AMPKα1 in cardiac muscle.
cellular energy metabolism; hypoxia; cardiovascular physiology; AMP-activated protein kinase
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an energy sensor of metabolism that is an attractive therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome. Using a homogeneous scintillation proximity assay (SPA), we identified a new small-molecule AMPK activator, ZLN024, which allosterically stimulated active AMPK heterotrimers and the inactive α1 subunit truncations α1 (1–394) and α1 (1–335) but not α1 (1–312). AMPK activation by ZLN024 requires the pre-phosphorylation of Thr-172 by at least one upstream kinase and protects AMPK Thr-172 against dephosphorylation by PP2Cα. ZLN024 activated AMPK in L6 myotubes and stimulated glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation without increasing the ADP/ATP ratio. ZLN024 also activated AMPK in primary hepatocytes, decreased fatty acid synthesis and glucose output. Treatment of db/db mice with 15 mg/kg/day ZLN024 improved glucose tolerance; liver tissue weight, triacylglycerol and the total cholesterol content were decreased. The hepatic transcriptional level of G6Pase, FAS and mtGPAT were reduced. The transcription of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation and the mitochondrial biogenesis of muscle tissue were elevated. The ACC phosphorylation was increased in muscle and liver. This study provides a novel allosteric AMPK activator for functional study in vitro and in vivo and demonstrates that AMPK allosteric activators could be a promising therapeutic approach for type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.
The liver is a major organ responsible for most functions of cellular metabolism and a mediator between dietary and endogenous sources of energy for extrahepatic tissues. In this context, adenosine-monophosphate- (AMP-) activated protein kinase (AMPK) constitutes an intrahepatic energy sensor regulating physiological energy dynamics by limiting anabolism and stimulating catabolism, thus increasing ATP availability. This is achieved by mechanisms involving direct allosteric activation and reversible phosphorylation of AMPK, in response to signals such as energy status, serum insulin/glucagon ratio, nutritional stresses, pharmacological and natural compounds, and oxidative stress status. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) lead to cellular AMPK activation and downstream signaling under several experimental conditions. Thyroid hormone (L-3,3′,5-triiodothyronine, T3) administration, a condition that enhances liver ROS generation, triggers the redox upregulation of cytoprotective proteins affording preconditioning against ischemia-reperfusion (IR) liver injury. Data discussed in this work suggest that T3-induced liver activation of AMPK may be of importance in the promotion of metabolic processes favouring energy supply for the induction and operation of preconditioning mechanisms. These include antioxidant, antiapoptotic, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms, repair or resynthesis of altered biomolecules, induction of the homeostatic acute-phase response, and stimulation of liver cell proliferation, which are required to cope with the damaging processes set in by IR.