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Circ Res. 2005 Oct 28;97(9):872-9. Epub 2005 Sep 22.

AMP-activated protein kinase activates p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase by increasing recruitment of p38 MAPK to TAB1 in the ischemic heart.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) promotes glucose transport, maintains ATP stores, and prevents injury and apoptosis during ischemia. AMPK has several direct molecular targets in the heart but also may interact with other stress-signaling pathways. This study examined the role of AMPK in the activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). In isolated heart muscles, the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxy-amide-1-beta-D-ribofuranoside (AICAR) increased p38 MAPK activation. In AMPK-deficient mouse hearts, expressing a kinase-dead (KD) alpha2 catalytic subunit, p38 MAPK activation was markedly reduced during low-flow ischemia (2.3- versus 7-fold in wild-type hearts, P<0.01) and was similarly reduced during severe no-flow ischemia in KD hearts (P<0.01 versus ischemic wild type). Knockout of the p38 MAPK upstream kinase, MAPK kinase 3 (MKK3), did not affect ischemic activation of either AMPK or p38 MAPK in transgenic mkk3(-/-) mouse hearts. Ischemia increased p38 MAPK recruitment to transforming growth factor-beta-activated protein kinase 1-binding protein 1 (TAB1), a scaffold protein that promotes p38 MAPK autophosphorylation. Moreover, TAB1 was associated with the alpha2 catalytic subunit of AMPK. p38 MAPK recruitment to TAB1/AMPK complexes required AMPK activation and was reduced in ischemic AMPK-deficient transgenic mouse hearts. The potential role of p38 MAPK in mediating the downstream action of AMPK to promote glucose transport was also assessed. The p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 partially inhibited both AICAR- and hypoxia-stimulated glucose uptake and GLUT4 translocation. Activation of p38 MAPK by anisomycin also increased glucose transport in heart muscles. Thus, AMPK has an important role in promoting p38 MAPK activation in the ischemic heart by inducing p38 MAPK autophosphorylation through interaction with the scaffold protein TAB1.

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