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J Biol Chem. 1994 Jul 29;269(30):19509-15.

Yeast SNF1 is functionally related to mammalian AMP-activated protein kinase and regulates acetyl-CoA carboxylase in vivo.

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Medical Research Council of Molecular Medicine, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, United Kingdom.


The product of the SNF1 gene is a protein kinase whose activity is essential for transcriptional activation of glucose repressed genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We have cloned a mammalian AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that is 46% identical to the deduced amino acid sequence of SNF1 (Carling, D., Aguan, K., Woods, A., Verhoeven, A.J.M., Beri, R., Brennan, C.H., Sidebottom, C., Davison, M.D., and Scott, J. (1994) J. Biol. Chem. 269, 11442-11448). Mammalian AMPK plays a major role in the control of lipid metabolism and phosphorylating, thereby inactivating both acetyl-CoA carboxylase and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, key regulatory enzymes in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, respectively. We present evidence indicating that, in common with its mammalian homologue, SNF1 forms part of a protein kinase cascade. SNF1 is inactivated in vitro by treatment with protein phosphatase 2A and can be reactivated using a partially purified preparation of mammalian AMPK kinase. SNF1 undergoes a time-dependent increase in activity during growth in glucose-derepressing conditions, providing the first evidence that SNF1 activity is regulated by the level of available glucose. In wild-type yeast, but not in a snf1 deletion mutant, acetyl-CoA carboxylase shows a reciprocal change in activity compared with SNF1 under glucose derepressing conditions, indicating that SNF1 regulates acetyl-CoA carboxylase in vivo. These results suggest that, in addition to their structural similarity, the role of SNF1 and AMPK in the regulation of fatty acid synthesis has been highly conserved throughout evolution.

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