AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) are metabolic kinases that co-ordinate nutrient supply with cell growth. AMPK negatively regulates mTORC1, and mTORC1 reciprocally phosphorylates S345/7 in both AMPK α-isoforms. We report that genetic or torin1-induced loss of α2-S345 phosphorylation relieves suppression of AMPK signaling; however, the regulatory effect does not translate to α1-S347 in HEK293T or MEF cells. Dephosphorylation of α2-S345, but not α1-S347, transiently targets AMPK to lysosomes, a cellular site for activation by LKB1. By mass spectrometry, we find that α2-S345 is basally phosphorylated at 2.5-fold higher stoichiometry than α1-S347 in HEK293T cells and, unlike α1, phosphorylation is partially retained after prolonged mTORC1 inhibition. Loss of α2-S345 phosphorylation in endogenous AMPK fails to sustain growth of MEFs under amino acid starvation conditions. These findings uncover an α2-specific mechanism by which AMPK can be activated at lysosomes in the absence of changes in cellular energy.
- energy homeostasis
- metabolic signaling