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Autophagy. 2007 Jul-Aug;3(4):381-3. Epub 2007 Jul 5.

AMP-activated protein kinase: a universal regulator of autophagy?

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Apoptosis Department and Centre for Genotoxic Stress Research, Institute of Cancer Biology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Autophagy is a lysosomal pathway involved in the turnover of cellular macromolecules and organelles. Starvation and various other stresses increase autophagic activity above the low basal levels observed in unstressed cells, where it is kept down by mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). In starved cells, LKB1 activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that inhibits mTORC1 activity via a pathway involving tuberous sclerosis complex 1 and 2 (TSC1/2) and its substrate Rheb. The present study suggests hat AMPK inhibits mTORC1 and autophagy also in nonstarved cells. Various Ca(2+) mobilizing agents (vitamin D compounds, thapsigargin, ATP and ionomycin) activate MPK via activation of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase-beta (CaMKK-beta), and his pathway is required for Ca(2+)-induced autophagy. Thus, we propose that an increase in free cytosolic Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)](c)) induces autophagy via the CaMKK/beta-AMPK-TSC1/2-Rheb-mTORC1 signaling pathway and that AMPK is a more general regulator of autophagy than previously expected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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