Comprehensive Characterization of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Catalytic Domain by Top-Down Mass Spectrometry.
ABSTRACT: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is essential in regulating energy metabolism in all eukaryotic cells. It is a heterotrimeric protein complex composed of a catalytic subunit (?) and two regulatory subunits (? and ?). C-terminal truncation of AMPK? at residue 312 yielded a protein that is active upon phosphorylation of Thr172 in the absence of ? and ? subunits, which is refered to as the AMPK catalytic domain and commonly used to substitute for the AMPK heterotrimeric complex in in vitro kinase assays. However, a comprehensive characterization of the AMPK catalytic domain is lacking. Herein, we expressed a His-tagged human AMPK catalytic domin (denoted as AMPK?) in E. coli, comprehensively characterized AMPK? in its basal state and after in vitro phosphorylation using top-down mass spectrometry (MS), and assessed how phosphorylation of AMPK? affects its activity. Unexpectedly, we found that bacterially-expressed AMPK? was basally phosphorylated and localized the phosphorylation site to the His-tag. We found that AMPK? had noticeable basal activity and was capable of phosphorylating itself and its substrates without activating phosphorylation at Thr172. Moreover, our data suggested that Thr172 is the only site phosphorylated by its upstream kinase, liver kinase B1, and that this phosphorylation dramatically increases the kinase activity of AMPK?. Importantly, we demonstrated that top-down MS in conjunction with in vitro phosphorylation assay is a powerful approach for monitoring phosphorylation reaction and determining sequential order of phosphorylation events in kinase-substrate systems.
Project description:The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an ??? heterotrimer that acts as a master metabolic regulator to maintain cellular energy balance following increased energy demand and increases in the AMP/ATP ratio. This regulation provides dynamic control of energy metabolism, matching energy supply with demand that is essential for the function and survival of organisms. AMPK is inactive unless phosphorylated on Thr172 in the ?-catalytic subunit activation loop by upstream kinases (LKB1 or calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase ?). How a rise in AMP levels triggers AMPK ?-Thr172 phosphorylation and activation is incompletely understood. Here we demonstrate unequivocally that AMP directly stimulates ?-Thr172 phosphorylation provided the AMPK ?-subunit is myristoylated. Loss of the myristoyl group abolishes AMP activation and reduces the extent of ?-Thr172 phosphorylation. Once AMPK is phosphorylated, AMP further activates allosterically but this activation does not require ?-subunit myristoylation. AMP and glucose deprivation also promote membrane association of myristoylated AMPK, indicative of a myristoyl-switch mechanism. Our results show that AMP regulates AMPK activation at the initial phosphorylation step, and that ?-subunit myristoylation is important for transducing the metabolic stress signal.
Project description:AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a major role in regulating metabolism and has attracted significant attention as a therapeutic target for treating metabolic disorders. AMPK activity is stimulated more than 100-fold by phosphorylation of threonine 172 (Thr172). Binding of AMP to the ? subunit allosterically activates the kinase. Additionally, many small molecules, e.g. 991, have been identified that bind between the kinase domain and the carbohydrate-binding module of the ? subunit, stabilising their interaction and leading to activation. It was reported recently that non-phosphorylated Thr172 AMPK is activated by AMP and A769662. We present here the crystal structure of non-phosphorylated Thr172 AMPK in complex with AMP and 991. This structure reveals that the activation loop, as well as the complex overall, is similar to the Thr172 phosphorylated complex. We find that in the presence of AMP and 991 non-phosphorylated Thr172, AMPK is much less active than the Thr172 phosphorylated enzyme. In human cells, the basal level of Thr172 phosphorylation is very low (?1%), but is increased 10-fold by treatment with 2-deoxyglucose. In cells lacking the major Thr172 kinases, LKB1 and CaMKK?, Thr172 phosphorylation is almost completely abolished, and AMPK activity is virtually undetectable. Our data show that AMP and 991 binding to non-phosphorylated Thr172 AMPK can induce an ordered, active-like, conformation of the activation loop explaining how AMPK activity can be measured in vitro without Thr172 phosphorylation. However, in a cellular context, phosphorylation of Thr172 is critical for significant activation of AMPK.
Project description:The 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an energy sensor that is activated upon phosphorylation of Thr172 in its activation loop by the kinase LKB1, CAMKK2, or TAK1. TAK1-dependent AMPK phosphorylation of Thr172 is less well characterized than phosphorylation of this site by LKB1 or CAMKK2. An important target of TAK1 is I?B kinase (IKK), which controls the activation of the transcription factor NF-?B. We tested the hypothesis that IKK acted downstream of TAK1 to activate AMPK by phosphorylating Thr172 IKK was required for the phosphorylation of Thr172 in AMPK in response to treatment with the inflammatory cytokine IL-1? or TNF-? or upon TAK1 overexpression. In addition, IKK regulated basal AMPK Thr172 phosphorylation in several cancer cell types independently of TAK1, indicating that other modes of IKK activation could stimulate AMPK. We found that IKK directly phosphorylated AMPK at Thr172 independently of the tumor suppressor LKB1 or energy stress. Accordingly, in LKB1-deficient cells, IKK inhibition reduced AMPK Thr172 phosphorylation in response to the mitochondrial inhibitor phenformin. This response led to enhanced apoptosis and suggests that IKK inhibition in combination with phenformin could be used clinically to treat patients with LKB1-deficient cancers.
Project description:SU6656, a Src kinase inhibitor, was reported to increase fat oxidation and reduce body weight in mice, with proposed mechanisms involving AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation via inhibition of phosphorylation of either LKB1 or AMPK by the Src kinase, Fyn. However, we report that AMPK activation by SU6656 is independent of Src kinases or tyrosine phosphorylation of LKB1 or AMPK and is not due to decreased cellular energy status or binding at the ADaM site on AMPK. SU6656 is a potent AMPK inhibitor, yet binding at the catalytic site paradoxically promotes phosphorylation of Thr172 by LKB1. This would enhance phosphorylation of downstream targets provided the lifetime of Thr172 phosphorylation was sufficient to allow dissociation of the inhibitor and subsequent catalysis prior to its dephosphorylation. By contrast, sorafenib, a kinase inhibitor in clinical use, activates AMPK indirectly by inhibiting mitochondrial metabolism and increasing cellular AMP:ADP and/or ADP:ATP ratios.
Project description:AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) is activated allosterically by AMP and by phosphorylation of Thr172 within the catalytic alpha subunit. Here we show that mutations in the regulatory gamma subunit reduce allosteric activation of the kinase by AMP. In addition to its allosteric effect, AMP significantly reduces the dephosphorylation of Thr172 by PP (protein phosphatase)2Calpha. Moreover, a mutation in the gamma subunit almost completely abolishes the inhibitory effect of AMP on dephosphorylation. We were unable to detect any effect of AMP on Thr172 phosphorylation by either LKB1 or CaMKKbeta (Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase beta) using recombinant preparations of the proteins. However, using partially purified AMPK from rat liver, there was an apparent AMP-stimulation of Thr172 phosphorylation by LKB1, but this was blocked by the addition of NaF, a PP inhibitor. Western blotting of partially purified rat liver AMPK and LKB1 revealed the presence of PP2Calpha in the preparations. We suggest that previous studies reporting that AMP promotes phosphorylation of Thr172 were misinterpreted. A plausible explanation for this effect of AMP is inhibition of dephosphorylation by PP2Calpha, present in the preparations of the kinases used in the earlier studies. Taken together, our results demonstrate that AMP activates AMPK via two mechanisms: by direct allosteric activation and by protecting Thr172 from dephosphorylation. On the basis of our new findings, we propose a simple model for the regulation of AMPK in mammalian cells by LKB1 and CaMKKbeta. This model accounts for activation of AMPK by two distinct signals: a Ca2+-dependent pathway, mediated by CaMKKbeta and an AMP-dependent pathway, mediated by LKB1.
Project description:The heterotrimeric AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), consisting of α, β and γ subunits, is a stress-sensing enzyme that is activated by phosphorylation of its activation loop in response to increases in cellular AMP. N-terminal myristoylation of the β-subunit has been shown to suppress Thr172 phosphorylation, keeping AMPK in an inactive state. Here we use amide hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) to investigate the structural and dynamic properties of the mammalian myristoylated and non-myristoylated inactivated AMPK (D139A) in the presence and absence of nucleotides. HDX MS data suggests that the myristoyl group binds near the first helix of the C-terminal lobe of the kinase domain similar to other kinases. Our data, however, also shows that ATP.Mg2+ results in a global stabilization of myristoylated, but not non-myristoylated AMPK, and most notably for peptides of the activation loop of the α-kinase domain, the autoinhibitory sequence (AIS) and the βCBM. AMP does not have that effect and HDX measurements for myristoylated and non-myristoylated AMPK in the presence of AMP are similar. These differences in dynamics may account for a reduced basal rate of phosphorylation of Thr172 in myristoylated AMPK in skeletal muscle where endogenous ATP concentrations are very high.
Project description:The insulin/IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)-activated protein kinase Akt (also known as protein kinase B) phosphorylates Ser487 in the 'ST loop' (serine/threonine-rich loop) within the C-terminal domain of AMPK-?1 (AMP-activated protein kinase-?1), leading to inhibition of phosphorylation by upstream kinases at the activating site, Thr172. Surprisingly, the equivalent site on AMPK-?2, Ser491, is not an Akt target and is modified instead by autophosphorylation. Stimulation of HEK (human embryonic kidney)-293 cells with IGF-1 caused reduced subsequent Thr172 phosphorylation and activation of AMPK-?1 in response to the activator A769662 and the Ca2+ ionophore A23187, effects we show to be dependent on Akt activation and Ser487 phosphorylation. Consistent with this, in three PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10)-null tumour cell lines (in which the lipid phosphatase PTEN that normally restrains the Akt pathway is absent and Akt is thus hyperactivated), AMPK was resistant to activation by A769662. However, full AMPK activation could be restored by pharmacological inhibition of Akt, or by re-expression of active PTEN. We also show that inhibition of Thr172 phosphorylation is due to interaction of the phosphorylated ST loop with basic side chains within the ?C-helix of the kinase domain. Our findings reveal that a previously unrecognized effect of hyperactivation of Akt in tumour cells is to restrain activation of the LKB1 (liver kinase B1)-AMPK pathway, which would otherwise inhibit cell growth and proliferation.
Project description:Autophagic activity in isolated rat hepatocytes is strongly suppressed by OA (okadaic acid) and other PP (protein phosphatase)-inhibitory toxins as well as by AICAR (5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide riboside), a direct activator of AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase). To investigate whether AMPK is a mediator of the effects of the toxin, a phosphospecific antibody directed against the activation of phosphorylation of the AMPK alpha (catalytic)-subunit at Thr172 was used to assess the activation status of this enzyme. AICAR as well as all the toxins tested (OA, microcystin-LR, calyculin A, cantharidin and tautomycin) induced strong, dose-dependent AMPKalpha phosphorylation, correlating with AMPK activity in situ (in intact hepatocytes) as measured by the AMPK-dependent phosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase at Ser79. All treatments induced the appearance of multiple, phosphatase-sensitive, low-mobility forms of the AMPK alpha-subunit, consistent with phosphorylation at several sites other than Thr172. The flavonoid naringin, an effective antagonist of OA-induced autophagy suppression, inhibited the AMPK phosphorylation and mobility shifting induced by AICAR, OA or microcystin, but not the changes induced by calyculin A or cantharidin. AMPK may thus be activated both by a naringin-sensitive and a naringin-resistant mechanism, probably involving the PPs PP2A and PP1 respectively. Neither the Thr172-phosphorylating protein kinase LKB1 nor the Thr172-dephosphorylating PP, PP2C, were mobility-shifted after treatment with toxins or AICAR, whereas a slight mobility shifting of the regulatory AMPK beta-subunit was indicated. Immunoblotting with a phosphospecific antibody against pSer108 at the beta-subunit revealed a naringin-sensitive phosphorylation induced by OA, microcystin and AICAR and a naringin-resistant phosphorylation induced by calyculin A and cantharidin, suggesting that beta-subunit phosphorylation could play a role in AMPK activation. Naringin antagonized the autophagy-suppressive effects of AICAR and OA, but not the autophagy suppression caused by cantharidin, consistent with AMPK-mediated inhibition of autophagy by toxins as well as by AICAR.
Project description:AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a heterotrimeric complex containing ?, ?, and ? subunits involved in maintaining integrity and survival of murine red blood cells. Indeed, Ampk ?1-/- , Ampk ?1-/- and Ampk ?1-/- mice develop hemolytic anemia and the plasma membrane of their red blood cells shows elasticity defects. The membrane composition evolves continuously along erythropoiesis and during red blood cell maturation; defects due to the absence of Ampk could be initiated during erythropoiesis. We, therefore, studied the role of AMPK during human erythropoiesis. Our data show that AMPK activation had two distinct phases in primary erythroblasts. The phosphorylation of AMPK (Thr172) and its target acetyl CoA carboxylase (Ser79) was elevated in immature erythroblasts (glycophorin Alow), then decreased conjointly with erythroid differentiation. In erythroblasts, knockdown of the ?1 catalytic subunit by short hairpin RNA led to a decrease in cell proliferation and alterations in the expression of membrane proteins (band 3 and glycophorin A) associated with an increase in phosphorylation of adducin (Ser726). AMPK activation in mature erythroblasts (glycophorin Ahigh), achieved through the use of direct activators (GSK621 and compound 991), induced cell cycle arrest in the S phase, the induction of autophagy and caspase-dependent apoptosis, whereas no such effects were observed in similarly treated immature erythroblasts. Thus, our work suggests that AMPK activation during the final stages of erythropoiesis is deleterious. As the use of direct AMPK activators is being considered as a treatment in several pathologies (diabetes, acute myeloid leukemia), this observation is pivotal. Our data highlighted the importance of the finely-tuned regulation of AMPK during human erythropoiesis.
Project description:AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a metabolic stress-sensing enzyme responsible for maintaining cellular energy homeostasis. Activation of AMPK by salicylate and the thienopyridone A-769662 is critically dependent on phosphorylation of Ser108 in the ?1 regulatory subunit. Here, we show a possible role for Ser108 phosphorylation in cell cycle regulation and promotion of pro-survival pathways in response to energy stress. We identify the autophagy initiator Unc-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1) as a ?1-Ser108 kinase in cells. Cellular ?1-Ser108 phosphorylation by ULK1 was dependent on AMPK ?-subunit myristoylation, metabolic stress associated with elevated AMP/ATP ratio, and the intrinsic energy sensing capacity of AMPK; features consistent with an AMP-induced myristoyl switch mechanism. We further demonstrate cellular AMPK signaling independent of activation loop Thr172 phosphorylation, providing potential insight into physiological roles for Ser108 phosphorylation. These findings uncover new mechanisms by which AMPK could potentially maintain cellular energy homeostasis independently of Thr172 phosphorylation.AMPK is involved in sensing of metabolic stress. The authors show that the autophagy initiator ULK1 phosphorylates ?1-Ser108 on the regulatory ?1-subunit, sensitizing AMPK to allosteric drugs, and activates signaling pathways that appear independent of Thr172 phosphorylation in the kinase activation loop.