High-fat diet (HFD) and inflammation are key contributors to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Interleukin (IL)-1 beta plays a role in insulin resistance, yet how IL-1 beta is induced by the fatty acids in an HFD, and how this alters insulin signaling, is unclear. We show that the saturated fatty acid palmitate, but not unsaturated oleate, induces the activation of the NLRP3-ASC inflammasome, causing caspase-1, IL-1 beta and IL-18 production. This pathway involves mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and the AMP-activated protein kinase and unc-51-like kinase-1 (ULK1) autophagy signaling cascade. Inflammasome activation in hematopoietic cells impairs insulin signaling in several target tissues to reduce glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, IL-1 beta affects insulin sensitivity through tumor necrosis factor-independent and dependent pathways. These findings provide insights into the association of inflammation, diet and T2D.
Pyruvate kinase isoform M2 (PKM2) plays an important role in the growth and metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells in stress conditions. Here, we report that SAICAR (succinylaminoimidazolecarboxamide ribose-5'-phosphate, an intermediate of the de novo purine nucleotide synthesis pathway) specifically stimulates PKM2. Upon glucose starvation, cellular SAICAR concentration increased in an oscillatory manner and stimulated PKM2 activity in cancer cells. Changes in SAICAR amounts in cancer cells altered cellular energy level, glucose uptake, and lactate production. The SAICAR-PKM2 interaction also promoted cancer cell survival in glucose-limited conditions. SAICAR accumulation was not observed in normal adult epithelial cells or lung fibroblasts, regardless of glucose conditions. This allosteric regulation may explain how cancer cells coordinate different metabolic pathways to optimize their growth in the nutrient-limited conditions commonly observed in the tumor microenvironment.
Diabetic microvascular complications have been considered to be mediated by a glucose-driven increase in mitochondrial superoxide anion production. Here, we report that superoxide production was reduced in the kidneys of a steptozotocin-induced mouse model of type 1 diabetes, as assessed by in vivo real-time transcutaneous fluorescence, confocal microscopy, and electron paramagnetic resonance analysis. Reduction of mitochondrial biogenesis and phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) were observed in kidneys from diabetic mice. These observations were consistent with an overall reduction of mitochondrial glucose oxidation. Activity of AMPK, the major energy-sensing enzyme, was reduced in kidneys from both diabetic mice and humans. Mitochondrial biogenesis, PDH activity, and mitochond.rial complex activity were rescued by treatment with the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-D-ribofuranosicle (AICAR). AICAR treatment induced superoxide production and was linked with glomerular matrix and albuminuria reduction in the diabetic kidney. Furthermore, diabetic heterozygous superoxide dismutase 2 (Sod(2+/-)) mice had no evidence of increased renal disease, and Ampka(2-/-) mice had increased albuminuria that was not reduced with AICAR treatment. Reduction of mito chondrial superoxide production with rotenone was sufficient to reduce AMPK phosphorylation in mouse kidneys. Taken together, these results demonstrate that diabetic kidneys have reduced superoxide and mitochondrial biogenesis and activation of AMPK enhances superoxide production and mitochomirial function while reducing disease activity.
Circadian clocks coordinate behavioral and physiological processes with daily light-dark cycles by driving rhythmic transcription of thousands of genes. Whereas the master clock in the brain is set by light, pacemakers in peripheral organs, such as the liver, are reset by food availability, although the setting, or "entrainmerit," mechanisms remain mysterious. Studying mouse fibroblasts, we demonstrated that the nutrient-responsive adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylates and destabilizes the clock component cryptochrome 1 (CRY1). In mouse livers, AMPK activity and nuclear localization were rhythmic and inversely correlated with CRY1 nuclear protein abundance. Stimulation of AMPK destabilized cryptochromes and altered circadian rhythms, and mice in which the AMPK pathway was genetically disrupted showed alterations in peripheral clocks. Thus, phosphorylation by AMPK enables cryptochrome to transduce nutrient signals to circadian clocks in mammalian peripheral organs.
In Salmonella enterica, the thiamine biosynthetic intermediate 5-aminoimidazole ribotide (AIR) can be synthesized de novo independently of the early purine biosynthetic reactions. This secondary route to AIR synthesis is dependent on (i) 5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide ribotide (AICAR) accumulation, (ii) a functional phosphoribosylaminoimidazole-succinocarboxamide (SAICAR) synthetase (PurC; EC 22.214.171.124), and (iii) methionine and lysine in the growth medium. Studies presented here show that AICAR is a direct precursor to AIR in vivo. PurC-dependent conversion of AICAR to AIR was recreated in vitro. Physiological studies showed that exogenous nutrients (e.g., methionine and lysine) antagonize the inhibitory effects of AICAR on the ThiC reaction and decreased the cellular thiamine requirement. Finally, genetic results identified multiple loci that impacted the effect of AICAR on thiamine synthesis and implicated cellular aspartate levels in AICAR-dependent AIR synthesis. Together, the data here clarify the mechanism that allows conditional growth of a strain lacking the first five biosynthetic enzymes, and they provide additional insights into the complexity of the metabolic network and its plasticity. IMPORTANCE In bacteria, the pyrimidine moiety of thiamine is derived from aminoimidazole ribotide (AIR), an intermediate in purine biosynthesis. A previous study described conditions under which AIR synthesis is independent of purine biosynthesis. This work is an extension of that previous study and describes a new synthetic pathway to thiamine that depends on a novel thiamine precursor and a secondary activity of the biosynthetic enzyme PurC. These findings provide mechanistic details of redundancy in the synthesis of a metabolite that is essential for nucleotide and coenzyme biosynthesis. Metabolic modifications that allow the new pathway to function or enhance it are also described.
Aneuploidy, an incorrect chromosome number, is a hallmark of cancer. Compounds that cause lethality in aneuploid, but not euploid, cells could therefore provide new cancer therapies. We have identified the energy stress-inducing agent AICAR, the protein folding inhibitor 17-AAG, and the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine as exhibiting this property. AICAR induces p53-mediated apoptosis in primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) trisomic for chromosome 1, 13, 16, or 19. AICAR and 17-AAG, especially when combined, also show efficacy against aneuploid human cancer cell lines. Our results suggest that compounds that interfere with pathways that are essential for the survival of aneuploid cells could serve as a new treatment strategy against a broad spectrum of human tumors. ► 4 trisomic MEF lines were screened for compounds that antagonize their proliferation ► The AMPK agonist AICAR and the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-AAG induce apoptosis in trisomic MEFs ► AICAR increases already elevated levels of Hsp72 and autophagy in trisomic MEFs ► AICAR+17-AAG preferentially inhibit the growth of high-grade aneuploid cancer cells
5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-4-ribofuranoside (AICAR), an analog of AMP is widely used as an activator of AMP-kinase (AMPK), a protein that regulates the responses of the cell to energy change. Recently, we showed that AICAR-induced AMPK activation inhibits the growth of retinoblastoma cells in vitro by decreasing cyclins and by inducing apoptosis and S-phase arrest. In this study, we investigated the effects of AMPK activator AICAR on the growth of retinoblastoma in vivo. Intraperitoneal injection of AICAR resulted in 48% growth inhibition of Y79 retinoblastoma cell tumors in mice. Tumors isolated from mice treated with AICAR had decreased expression of Ki67 and increased apoptotic cells (TUNEL positive) compared with the control. In addition, AICAR treatment suppressed significantly tumor vessel density and macrophage infiltration. We also showed that AICAR administration resulted in AMPK activation and mTOR pathway inhibition. Paradoxically observed down-regulation of p21, which indicates that p21 may have a novel function of an oncogene in retinoblastoma tumor. Our results indicate that AICAR treatment inhibited the growth of retinoblastoma tumor in vivo via AMPK/mTORC1 pathway and by apoptogenic, anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenesis mechanism. AICAR is a promising novel non-chemotherapeutic drug that may be effective as an adjuvant in treating Retinoblastoma.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol produced by plants that has multiple beneficial activities similar to those associated with caloric restriction (CR), such as increased life span and delay in the onset of diseases associated with aging. CR improves neuronal health, and the global beneficial effects of CR have been postulated to be mediated by the nervous system. One key enzyme thought to be activated during CR is the AMP-activated kinase (AMPK), a sensor of cellular energy levels. AMPK is activated by increases in the cellular AMP:ATP ratio, whereupon it functions to help preserve cellular energy. In this regard, the regulation of dietary food intake by hypothalamic neurons is mediated by AMPK. The suppression of nonessential energy expenditure by activated AMPK along with the CR mimetic and neuroprotective properties of resveratrol led us to hypothesize that neuronal activation of AMPK could be an important component of resveratrol activity. Here, we show that resveratrol activated AMPK in Neuro2a cells and primary neurons in vitro as well as in the brain. Resveratrol and the AMPK-activating compound 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β- d -ribofuranoside (AICAR) promoted robust neurite outgrowth in Neuro2a cells, which was blocked by genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of AMPK. Resveratrol also stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis in an AMPK-dependent manner. Resveratrol-stimulated AMPK activity in neurons depended on LKB1 activity but did not require the NAD-dependent protein deacetylase SIRT1 during this time frame. These findings suggest that neuronal activation of AMPK by resveratrol could affect neuronal energy homeostasis and contribute to the neuroprotective effects of resveratrol. caloric restriction neuronal energy neuronal protection
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a metabolic fuel gauge conserved along the evolutionary scale in eukaryotes that senses changes in the intracellular AMP/ATP ratio(1). Recent evidence indicated an important role for AMPK in the therapeutic benefits of metformin(2,3), thiazolidinediones(4) and exercise(5), which form the cornerstones of the clinical management of type 2 diabetes and associated metabolic disorders. In general, activation of AMPK acts to maintain cellular energy stores, switching on catabolic pathways that produce ATP, mostly by enhancing oxidative metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis, while switching off anabolic pathways that consume ATP(1). This regulation can take place acutely, through the regulation of fast post-translational events, but also by transcriptionally reprogramming the cell to meet energetic needs. Here we demonstrate that AMPK controls the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism in mouse skeletal muscle by acting in coordination with another metabolic sensor, the NAD(+)-dependent type III deacetylase SIRT1. AMPK enhances SIRT1 activity by increasing cellular NAD(+) levels, resulting in the deacetylation and modulation of the activity of downstream SIRT1 targets that include the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1 alpha and the forkhead box O1 (FOXO1) and O3 (FOXO3a) transcription factors. The AMPK-induced SIRT1-mediated deacetylation of these targets explains many of the convergent biological effects of AMPK and SIRT1 on energy metabolism.
As the liver is central in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis and energy storage, knowledge of the physiology as well as physiopathology of hepatic energy metabolism is a prerequisite to our understanding of whole-body metabolism. Hepatic fuel metabolism changes considerably depending on physiological circumstances (fed vs. fasted state). In consequence, hepatic carbohydrate, lipid and protein synthesis/utilization are tightly regulated according to needs. Fatty liver and hepatic insulin resistance (both frequently associated with the metabolic syndrome) or increased hepatic glucose production (as observed in type 2 diabetes) resulted from alterations in substrates oxidation/storage balance in the liver. Because AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is considered as a cellular energy sensor, it is important to gain understanding of the mechanism by which hepatic AMPK coordinates hepatic energy metabolism. AMPK has been implicated as a key regulator of physiological energy dynamics by limiting anabolic pathways (to prevent further ATP consumption) and by facilitating catabolic pathways (to increase ATP generation). Activation of hepatic AMPK leads to increased fatty acid oxidation and simultaneously inhibition of hepatic lipogenesis, cholesterol synthesis and glucose production. In addition to a short-term effect on specific enzymes, AMPK also modulates the transcription of genes involved in lipogenesis and mitochondrial biogenesis. The identification of AMPK targets in hepatic metabolism should be useful in developing treatments to reverse metabolic abnormalities of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.