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Protein Sci. 2010 Nov;19(11):2031-44. doi: 10.1002/pro.505.

Human pyruvate kinase M2: a multifunctional protein.

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National Centre of Applied Human Genetics, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India.


Glycolysis, a central metabolic pathway, harbors evolutionary conserved enzymes that modulate and potentially shift the cellular metabolism on requirement. Pyruvate kinase, which catalyzes the last but rate-limiting step of glycolysis, is expressed in four isozymic forms, depending on the tissue requirement. M2 isoform (PKM2) is exclusively expressed in embryonic and adult dividing/tumor cells. This tetrameric allosterically regulated isoform is intrinsically designed to downregulate its activity by subunit dissociation (into dimer), which results in partial inhibition of glycolysis at the last step. This accumulates all upstream glycolytic intermediates as an anabolic feed for synthesis of lipids and nucleic acids, whereas reassociation of PKM2 into active tetramer replenishes the normal catabolism as a feedback after cell division. In addition, involvement of this enzyme in a variety of pathways, protein-protein interactions, and nuclear transport suggests its potential to perform multiple nonglycolytic functions with diverse implications, although multidimensional role of this protein is as yet not fully explored. This review aims to provide an overview of the involvement of PKM2 in various physiological pathways with possible functional implications.

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