The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: David Carling

AMP-activated protein kinase: a key metabolic regulator

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David Carling
Cellular Stress Group, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, Imperial College London, UK

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a major role in metabolic regulation. AMPK responds to changes in intracellular adenine nucleotide levels, and is activated by an increase in AMP/ADP relative to ATP. Activation of AMPK increases the rate of catabolic (ATP-generating) pathways and decreases the rate of anabolic (ATP-utilising) pathways. In addition to its role in maintaining intracellular energy balance, AMPK regulates whole body energy metabolism. Given its key role in controlling energy homeostasis, AMPK has attracted widespread interest as a potential therapeutic target for metabolic diseases. We recently solved the structure of AMPK in complex with a small molecule activator, revealing important insights into the mechanism of activation of AMPK. We have generated a transgenic mouse model that enables us to express AMPK harbouring a gain-of-function mutation which has allowed us to examine the effect of AMPK activation on metabolic pathways in vivo. The use of this new model offers us the opportunity to explore the physiological role of AMPK.

Chairperson: Nils Halberg <nils.halberg@uib.no>, Department of Biomedicine