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Mol Cell Biochem. 2010 Feb;335(1-2):91-105. doi: 10.1007/s11010-009-0246-7. Epub 2009 Sep 15.

The regulation of AMPK signaling in a natural state of profound metabolic rate depression.

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Department of Molecular Physiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 710 Robinson Research Building, 2200 Pierce Avenue, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


In response to energy stress (and elevated AMP), the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) coordinates the restoration of energy homeostasis. We determined that AMPK is activated in a model system (desert snail Otala lactea) during a physiological state of profound metabolic rate depression (estivation) in the absence of a rise in AMP. Kinetic characterization indicated a strong increase in AMPK activity and phosphorylation in estivation, consistent with an increase in P-Ser428 LKB, an established regulator of AMPK. Accordingly, approximately 2-fold increases in AMPKalpha1 protein and activity were observed with LKB1 immunoprecipitates from estivating snails. In vitro studies determined that AMPK in crude extracts was activated in the presence of cGMP and deactivated in conditions that permitted protein phosphatase type-2A (PP2A) activity. Furthermore, AMPKalpha1 protein and activity increased in PKG immunoprecipitates from estivating tissues, suggesting a novel role for PKG in the regulation of AMPK in vivo. We evaluated several downstream targets of AMPK. Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) activity was strongly inhibited in estivation, consistent with increased P-Ser79 content, and in vitro stimulation of AMPK negated citrate's ability to stimulate ACC aggregation. Analysis of other targets revealed a strong decrease in PPARgamma-coactivator 1alpha expression in both tissues, which was related to decreased gluconeogenic protein expression in hepatic tissue, but no changes in mitochondrial biogenesis markers in muscle. We concluded that AMPK activation in O. lactea aids in facilitating the suppression of anabolic pathways, without necessarily activating ATP-generating catabolism.

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