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J Biol Chem. 2011 Feb 11;286(6):4081-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.134106. Epub 2010 Sep 27.

Adenylate kinase 2 links mitochondrial energy metabolism to the induction of the unfolded protein response.

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  • 1Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.


The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a homeostatic signaling mechanism that balances the protein folding capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with the secretory protein load of the cell. ER protein folding capacity is dependent on the abundance of chaperones, which is increased in response to UPR signaling, and on a sufficient ATP supply for their activity. An essential branch of the UPR entails the splicing of XBP1 mRNA to form the XBP1 transcription factor. XBP1 has been shown to be required during adipocyte differentiation, enabling mature adipocytes to secrete adiponectin, and during differentiation of B cells into antibody-secreting plasma cells. Here we find that adenylate kinase 2 (AK2), a mitochondrial enzyme that regulates adenine nucleotide interconversion within the intermembrane space, is markedly induced during adipocyte and B cell differentiation. Depletion of AK2 by RNAi impairs adiponectin secretion in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, IgM secretion in BCL1 cells, and the induction of the UPR during differentiation of both cell types. These results reveal a new mechanism by which mitochondria support ER function and suggest that specific mitochondrial defects may give rise to impaired UPR signaling. The requirement for AK2 for UPR induction may explain the pathogenesis of the profound hematopoietic defects of reticular dysgenesis, a disease associated with mutations of the AK2 gene in humans.

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