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J Biol Chem. 1996 Apr 12;271(15):8675-81.

Non-catalytic beta- and gamma-subunit isoforms of the 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.


The mammalian 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a heterotrimeric protein consisting of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-subunits. The alpha-subunit is the catalytic subunit and is related to the yeast Snf1p kinase. In this study, we report the cloning of full-length cDNAs for the non-catalytic beta- and gamma-subunits. The rat liver AMPK beta-subunit clone predicts a protein of 30,464 Da, which is related to the Sip1p, Sip2p, and Gal83p subfamily of yeast proteins that interact with Snf1p and are involved in glucose regulation of gene expression. The AMPK beta-subunit, when expressed in bacteria and in mammalian cells, migrates anomalously on SDS gels at an apparent molecular mass of 40 kDa. Rat and human liver AMPK gamma-subunit clones predict a protein of 37,577 Da (AMPK-gamma1), which is related to the yeast Snf4p protein that copurifies with Snf1p and to a larger family of other human AMPK gamma-isoforms. The mRNAs for both AMPK- beta and AMPK-gamma1 are widely expressed in rat tissues, consistent with a broad role for AMPK in cellular regulation. These data reveal a mammalian multisubunit protein kinase strikingly similar to the multisubunit glucose-sensing Snf1 kinase complex. The identification of isoform families for the AMPK subunits indicates the potential diversity of the roles of this highly conserved signaling system in nutrient regulation and utilization in mammalian cells.

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