Recent studies have highlighted the importance of an inhibitory phosphorylation site, Ser(485/491), on the ?-subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); however, little is known about the regulation of this site in liver and skeletal muscle. We examined whether the inhibitory effects of insulin on AMPK activity may be mediated through the phosphorylation of this inhibitory Ser(485/491) site in hepatocytes, myotubes and incubated skeletal muscle. HepG2 and C2C12 cells were stimulated with or without insulin for 15-min. Similarly, rat extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were treated +/- insulin for 10-min. Insulin significantly increased Ser(485/491) p-AMPK under all conditions, resulting in a subsequent reduction in AMPK activity, ranging from 40% to 70%, despite no change in p-AMPK Thr(172). Akt inhibition both attenuated the increase in Ser(485/491) p-AMPK caused by insulin, and prevented the decrease in AMPK activity. Similarly, the growth factor IGF-1 stimulated Ser(485/491) AMPK phosphorylation, and this too was blunted by inhibition of Akt. Inhibition of the mTOR pathway with rapamycin, however, had no effect on insulin-stimulated Ser(485/491) p-AMPK. These data suggest that insulin and IGF-1 diminish AMPK activity in hepatocytes and muscle, most likely through Akt activation and the inhibitory phosphorylation of Ser(485/491) on its ?-subunit.
Estrogens play a major role in the modulation of energy balance through central and peripheral actions. Here, we demonstrate that central action of estradiol (E2) inhibits AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) through estrogen receptor alpha (ER?) selectively in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH), leading to activation of thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) through the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) in a feeding-independent manner. Genetic activation of AMPK in the VMH prevented E2-induced increase in BAT-mediated thermogenesis and weight loss. Notably, fluctuations in E2 levels during estrous cycle also modulate this integrated physiological network. Together, these findings demonstrate that E2 regulation of the VMH AMPK-SNS-BAT axis is an important determinant of energy balance and suggest that dysregulation in this axis may account for the common changes in energy homeostasis and obesity linked to dysfunction of the female gonadal axis.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disease characterized by insulin resistance, ?-cell dysfunction, and elevated hepatic glucose output. Over 350 million people worldwide have T2D, and the International Diabetes Federation projects that this number will increase to nearly 600 million by 2035. There is a great need for more effective treatments for maintaining glucose homeostasis and improving insulin sensitivity. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase whose activation elicits insulin-sensitizing effects, making it an ideal therapeutic target for T2D. AMPK is an energy-sensing enzyme that is activated when cellular energy levels are low, and it signals to stimulate glucose uptake in skeletal muscles, fatty acid oxidation in adipose (and other) tissues, and reduces hepatic glucose production. There is substantial evidence suggesting that AMPK is dysregulated in animals and humans with metabolic syndrome or T2D, and that AMPK activation (physiological or pharmacological) can improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic health. Numerous pharmacological agents, natural compounds, and hormones are known to activate AMPK, either directly or indirectly - some of which (for example, metformin and thiazolidinediones) are currently used to treat T2D. This paper will review the regulation of the AMPK pathway and its role in T2D, some of the known AMPK activators and their mechanisms of action, and the potential for future improvements in targeting AMPK for the treatment of T2D.
Efficient coupling of cellular energy production to metabolic demand is crucial to maintain organismal homeostasis. Here, we report that the mitochondrial Sirtuin Sirt4 regulates mitochondrial ATP homeostasis. We find that Sirt4 affects mitochondrial uncoupling via the adenine nucleotide translocator 2 (ANT2). Loss of Sirt4 expression leads to decreased cellular ATP levelsin vitro and in vivo while Sirt4 overexpression is associated with increased ATP levels. Further, we provide evidence that lack of Sirt4 activates a retrograde signaling response from the mitochondria to the nucleus that includes AMPK, PGC1?, key regulators of ?-oxidation such as Acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and components of the mitochondrial respiratory machinery. This study highlights the ability of Sirt4 to regulate ATP levels via ANT2 and a feedback loop involving AMPK.
Lipid metabolism is tightly controlled by the nutritional state of the organism. Nutrient-rich conditions increase lipogenesis, whereas nutrient deprivation promotes fat oxidation. In this study, we identify the mitochondrial sirtuin, SIRT4, as a regulator of lipid homeostasis. SIRT4 is active in nutrient-replete conditions to repress fatty acid oxidation while promoting lipid anabolism. SIRT4 deacetylates and inhibits malonyl CoA decarboxylase (MCD), an enzyme that produces acetyl CoA from malonyl CoA. Malonyl CoA provides the carbon skeleton for lipogenesis and also inhibits fat oxidation. Mice lacking SIRT4 display elevated MCD activity and decreased malonyl CoA in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue. Consequently, SIRT4 KO mice display deregulated lipid metabolism, leading to increased exercise tolerance and protection against diet-induced obesity. In sum, this work elucidates SIRT4 as an important regulator of lipid homeostasis, identifies MCD as a SIRT4 target, and deepens our understanding of the malonyl CoA regulatory axis.
It has long been known that excesses of glucose and branched chain amino acids, such as leucine, lead to insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. A recent study in incubated rat muscle suggests that both molecules may do so by virtue of their ability to downregulate the fuel sensing and signaling enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and activate mTOR/p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) signaling. The results also demonstrated that inhibition of mTOR/p70S6K with rapamycin prevented the development of insulin resistance but had no effect on AMPK activity (Thr172 phosphorylation of its catalytic subunit). In contrast, activation of AMPK by both AICAR and ?-lipoic acid led to the phosphorylation of specific molecules that diminished both mTOR/p70S6K signaling and insulin resistance. These findings suggest that downregulation of AMPK precedes mTOR/p70S6K activation in mediating glucose and leucine-induced insulin resistance, although the mechanism by which it does so remains to be determined. Also requiring study is how an excess of the two nutrients leads to AMPK downregulation.
Glucose infusion into rats causes skeletal muscle insulin resistance that initially occurs without changes in insulin signaling. The aim of the current study was to prolong glucose infusion and evaluate other events associated with the transition to muscle insulin resistance. Hyperglycemia was produced in rats by glucose infusion for 3, 5 and 8 h. The rate of infusion required to maintain hyperglycemia was reduced at 5 and 8 h. Glucose uptake into red quadriceps (RQ) and its incorporation into glycogen decreased between 3 and 5 h, further decreasing at 8 h. The earliest observed change in RQ was decreased AMPK?2 activity associated with large increases in muscle glycogen content at 3 h. Activation of the mTOR pathway occurred at 5 h. Akt phosphorylation (Ser(473)) was decreased at 8 h compared to 3 and 5, although no decrease in phosphorylation of downstream GSK-3? (Ser(9)) and AS160 (Thr(642)) was observed. White quadriceps showed a similar but delayed pattern, with insulin resistance developing by 8 h and decreased AMPK?2 activity at 5 h. These results indicate that, in the presence of a nutrient overload, alterations in muscle insulin signaling occur, but after insulin resistance develops and appropriate changes in energy/nutrient sensing pathways occur.
Branched-chain amino acids, such as leucine and glucose, stimulate protein synthesis and increase the phosphorylation and activity of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and its downstream target p70S6 kinase (p70S6K). We examined in skeletal muscle whether the effects of leucine and glucose on these parameters and on insulin resistance are mediated by the fuel-sensing enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).
1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3)-3-bromoacetate (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE) is a vitamin D receptor-alkylating derivative of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3). The strong dose-dependent antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of this compound in androgen-sensitive and androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells have been reported. In this communication, it is reported that 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE strongly inhibits the growth of several pancreatic cancer cell lines. This effect is further accentuated by combination with 5-amino-imidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-4-ribofuranoside (AICAR), an activator of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/acetyl-Co-enzyme A carboxylase (ACC) phosphorylation pathways and an inhibitor of Akt phosphorylation. It was observed that the anti-growth property of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE, either alone or in combination with AICAR resulted in the inhibition of Akt phosphorylation in BxPC-3 cells. In conclusion, 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-3-BE displays a strong therapeutic potential, alone and in combination with AICAR, in pancreatic cancer.
Thyroid hormones have widespread cellular effects; however it is unclear whether their effects on the central nervous system (CNS) contribute to global energy balance. Here we demonstrate that either whole-body hyperthyroidism or central administration of triiodothyronine (T3) decreases the activity of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), increases sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity and upregulates thermogenic markers in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Inhibition of the lipogenic pathway in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) prevents CNS-mediated activation of BAT by thyroid hormone and reverses the weight loss associated with hyperthyroidism. Similarly, inhibition of thyroid hormone receptors in the VMH reverses the weight loss associated with hyperthyroidism. This regulatory mechanism depends on AMPK inactivation, as genetic inhibition of this enzyme in the VMH of euthyroid rats induces feeding-independent weight loss and increases expression of thermogenic markers in BAT. These effects are reversed by pharmacological blockade of the SNS. Thus, thyroid hormone-induced modulation of AMPK activity and lipid metabolism in the hypothalamus is a major regulator of whole-body energy homeostasis.
The orexigenic effect of ghrelin is mediated by neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related protein (AgRP) in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC). Recent evidence also indicates that ghrelin promotes feeding through a mechanism involving activation of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inactivation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthase (FAS). This results in decreased hypothalamic levels of malonyl-CoA, increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) activity, and mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species. We evaluated whether these molecular events are part of a unique signaling cascade or whether they represent alternative pathways mediating the orexigenic effect of ghrelin. Moreover, we examined the gender dependency of these mechanisms, because recent evidence has proposed that ghrelin orexigenic effect is reduced in female rats. We studied in both genders the effect of ghrelin on the expression of AgRP and NPY, as well as their transcription factors: cAMP response-element binding protein (CREB and its phosphorylated form, pCREB), forkhead box O1 (FoxO1 and its phosphorylated form, pFoxO1), and brain-specific homeobox transcription factor (BSX). In addition, to establish a mechanistic link between ghrelin, fatty acid metabolism, and neuropeptides, we evaluated the effect of ghrelin after blockage of hypothalamic fatty acid beta oxidation, by using the CPT1 inhibitor etomoxir. Ghrelin-induced changes in the AMPK-CPT1 pathway are associated with increased levels of AgRP and NPY mRNA expression through modulation of BSX, pCREB, and FoxO1, as well as decreased expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers in a gender-independent manner. In addition, blockage of hypothalamic fatty acid beta oxidation prevents the ghrelin-promoting action on AgRP and NPY mRNA expression, also in a gender-independent manner. Notably, this effect is associated with decreased BSX expression and reduced food intake. Overall, our data suggest that BSX integrates changes in neuronal metabolic status with ARC-derived neuropeptides in a gender-independent manner.
Sirtuins are NAD(+)-dependent protein deacetylases. They mediate adaptive responses to a variety of stresses, including calorie restriction and metabolic stress. Sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) is localized in the mitochondrial matrix, where it regulates the acetylation levels of metabolic enzymes, including acetyl coenzyme A synthetase 2 (refs 1, 2). Mice lacking both Sirt3 alleles appear phenotypically normal under basal conditions, but show marked hyperacetylation of several mitochondrial proteins. Here we report that SIRT3 expression is upregulated during fasting in liver and brown adipose tissues. During fasting, livers from mice lacking SIRT3 had higher levels of fatty-acid oxidation intermediate products and triglycerides, associated with decreased levels of fatty-acid oxidation, compared to livers from wild-type mice. Mass spectrometry of mitochondrial proteins shows that long-chain acyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (LCAD) is hyperacetylated at lysine 42 in the absence of SIRT3. LCAD is deacetylated in wild-type mice under fasted conditions and by SIRT3 in vitro and in vivo; and hyperacetylation of LCAD reduces its enzymatic activity. Mice lacking SIRT3 exhibit hallmarks of fatty-acid oxidation disorders during fasting, including reduced ATP levels and intolerance to cold exposure. These findings identify acetylation as a novel regulatory mechanism for mitochondrial fatty-acid oxidation and demonstrate that SIRT3 modulates mitochondrial intermediary metabolism and fatty-acid use during fasting.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the histone/protein deacetylase SIRT1 are fuel-sensing molecules that have coexisted in cells throughout evolution. When a cells energy state is diminished, AMPK activation restores energy balance by stimulating catabolic processes that generate ATP and downregulating anabolic processes that consume ATP but are not acutely needed for survival. SIRT1 in turn is best known historically for producing genetic changes that mediate the increase in longevity caused by calorie restriction. Although the two molecules have been studied intensively for many years, only recently has it become apparent that they have similar effects on diverse processes such as cellular fuel metabolism, inflammation, and mitochondrial function. In this review we will examine the evidence that these similarities occur because AMPK and SIRT1 both regulate each other and share many common target molecules. In addition, we will discuss the clinical relevance of these interactions and in particular the possibility that their dysregulation predisposes to disorders such as type 2 diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and is a target for their therapy.
GH plays a major role in the regulation of lipid metabolism and alterations in GH axis elicit major changes in fat distribution and mobilization. For example, in patients with GH deficiency (GHD) or in mice lacking the GH receptor, the percentage of fat is increased. In addition to the direct actions of GH on lipid metabolism, current evidence indicates that ghrelin, a stomach-derived peptide hormone with potent GH secretagogue action, increases lipogenesis in white adipose tissue (WAT) through a hypothalamic-mediated mechanism. Still, the mechanism by which GH tone modulates ghrelin actions on WAT remains unclear. Here we investigated the effect of central ghrelin administration on lipid metabolism in lipogenic tissues (liver and WAT) in the absence of GH, by using a model for the study of GHD, namely the spontaneous dwarf rat, which shows increased body fat. Our data demonstrate that central chronic ghrelin administration regulates adipose lipid metabolism, mainly in a GH-independent fashion, as a result of increased mRNA, protein expression, and activity levels of fatty acid metabolism enzymes. On the contrary, central ghrelin regulates hepatic lipogenesis de novo in a GH-independent fashion but lipid mobilization in a GH-dependent fashion because carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 was decreased only in wild-type Lewis rats. These findings suggest the existence of a new central nervous system-based neuroendocrine circuit, regulating metabolic homeostasis of adipose tissue. Understanding the molecular mechanism underlying the interplay between GH and ghrelin and their effects on lipid metabolism will provide new strategies for the design and development of suitable drugs for the treatment of GHD, obesity, and its comorbidities.
We have previously shown that expression of the transcription factor ARNT/HIF1beta is reduced in islets of humans with type 2 diabetes. We have now found that ARNT is also reduced in livers of diabetics. To study the functional effect of its reduction, we created mice with liver-specific ablation (L-ARNT KO) using ARNT loxP mice and adenoviral-mediated delivery of Cre. L-ARNT KO mice had normal blood glucose but increased fed insulin levels. These mice also exhibited features of type 2 diabetes with increased hepatic gluconeogenesis, increased lipogenic gene expression, and low serum beta-hydroxybutyrate. These effects appear to be secondary to increased expression of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPalpha), farnesoid X receptor (FXR), and sterol response element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) and a reduction in phosphorylation of AMPK without changes in the expression of enzymes in ketogenesis, fatty acid oxidation, or FGF21. These results demonstrate that a deficiency of ARNT action in the liver, coupled with that in beta cells, could contribute to the metabolic phenotype of human type 2 diabetes.
We examined in HepG2 cells whether glucose-induced changes in AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity could be mediated by SIRT1, an NAD(+)-dependent histone/protein deacetylase that has been linked to the increase in longevity caused by caloric restriction. Incubation with 25 vs. 5mM glucose for 6h concurrently diminished the phosphorylation of AMPK (Thr 172) and ACC (Ser 79), increased lactate release, and decreased the abundance and activity of SIRT1. In contrast, incubation with pyruvate (0.1 and 1mM) for 2h increased AMPK phosphorylation and SIRT1 abundance and activity. The putative SIRT1 activators resveratrol and quercetin also increased AMPK phosphorylation. None of the tested compounds (low or high glucose, pyruvate, and resveratrol) significantly altered the AMP/ATP ratio. Collectively, these findings raise the possibility that glucose-induced changes in AMPK are linked to alterations in SIRT1 abundance and activity and possibly cellular redox state.
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