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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Sep;91(3):1017-28.

Energy-sensing and signaling by AMP-activated protein kinase in skeletal muscle.

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Department of Zoology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA.


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is emerging as an important energy-sensing/signaling system in skeletal muscle. This kinase is activated allosterically by 5'-AMP and inhibited allosterically by creatine phosphate. Phosphorylation of AMPK by an upstream kinase, AMPK kinase (also activated allosterically by 5'-AMP), results in activation. It is activated in both rat and human muscle in response to muscle contraction, the extent of activation depending on work rate and muscle glycogen concentration. AMPK can also be activated chemically in resting muscle with 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-riboside, which enters the muscle and is phosphorylated to form ZMP, a nucleotide that mimics the effect of 5'-AMP. Once activated, AMPK is hypothesized to phosphorylate proteins involved in triggering fatty acid oxidation and glucose uptake. Evidence is also accumulating for a role of AMPK in inducing some of the adaptations to endurance training, including the increase in muscle GLUT-4, hexokinase, uncoupling protein 3, and some of the mitochondrial oxidative enzymes. It thus appears that AMPK has the capability of monitoring intramuscular energy charge and then acutely stimulating fat oxidation and glucose uptake to counteract the increased rates of ATP utilization during muscle contraction. In addition, this system may have the capability of enhancing capacity for ATP production when the muscle is exposed to endurance training.

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