Journal of proteomics

A two-dimensional screen for AMPK substrates identifies tumor suppressor fumarate hydratase as a preferential AMPKα2 substrate.

PMID 22507198


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is emerging as a central cellular signaling hub involved in energy homeostasis and proliferation. The kinase is considered as a suitable target for pharmacological intervention in several energy-related pathologies like diabetes type II and cancer, although its signaling network is still incompletely understood. Here we apply an original two-dimensional in vitro screening approach for AMPK substrates that combines biophysical interaction based on surface plasmon resonance with in vitro phosphorylation. By enriching for proteins that interact with a specific AMPK isoform, we aimed to identify substrates that are also preferentially phosphorylated by this specific AMPK isoform. Application of this screen to full-length AMPK α2β2γ1 and soluble rat liver proteins identified the tumor suppressor fumarate hydratase (FH). FH was confirmed to interact with and to be preferentially phosphorylated by the AMPKα2 isoform by using yeast-two-hybrid and in vitro phosphorylation assays. AMPK-mediated phosphorylation of FH significantly increased enzyme activity in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that it is a bona fide AMPK substrate. In vivo, AMPKα2 is supposed to target the cytosolic/nuclear pools of FH, whose tumor suppressor function relies on DNA damage repair and inhibition of HIF-1α-signaling.

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