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Structure. 2007 Oct;15(10):1285-95.

Structural insight into AMPK regulation: ADP comes into play.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a sensor of cellular energy status found in all eukaryotes, responds to changes in intracellular adenosine nucleotide levels resulting from metabolic stresses. Here we describe crystal structures of a heterotrimeric regulatory core fragment from Schizosaccharomyces pombe AMPK in complex with ADP, ADP/AMP, ADP/ATP, and 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide 1-beta-D-ribofuranotide (AICAR phosphate, or ZMP), a well-characterized AMPK activator. Prior crystallographic studies had revealed a single site in the gamma subunit that binds either ATP or AMP within Bateman domain B. Here we show that ZMP binds at this site, mimicking the binding of AMP. An analogous site in Bateman domain A selectively accommodates ADP, which binds in a distinct manner that also involves direct ligation to elements from the beta subunit. These observations suggest a possible role for ADP in regulating AMPK response to changes in cellular energy status.

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