LKB1 is a master kinase that activates 13 kinases of the AMPK subfamily, including MARK/PAR-1

Jose M. Lizcano, Olga Goransson, Rachel Toth, Maria Deak, Nick A. Morrice, Jerome Boudeau, Simon Hawley, Lina Udd, Tomi P. Makela, D. Grahame Hardie, Dario R. Alessi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    921 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We recently demonstrated that the LKB1 tumour suppressor kinase, in complex with the pseudokinase STRAD and the scaffolding protein MO25, phosphorylates and activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). A total of 12 human kinases (NUAK1, NUAK2, BRSK1, BRSK2, QIK, QSK, SIK, MARK1, MARK2, MARK3, MARK4 and MELK) are related to AMPK. Here we demonstrate that LKB1 can phosphorylate the T-loop of all the members of this subfamily, apart from MELK, increasing their activity >50-fold. LKB1 catalytic activity and the presence of MO25 and STRAD are required for activation. Mutation of the T-loop Thr phosphorylated by LKB1 to Ala prevented activation, while mutation to glutamate produced active forms of many of the AMPK-related kinases. Activities of endogenous NUAK2, QIK, QSK, SIK, MARK1, MARK2/3 and MARK4 were markedly reduced in LKB1-deficient cells. Neither LKB1 activity nor that of AMPK-related kinases was stimulated by phenformin or AICAR, which activate AMPK. Our results show that LKB1 functions as a master upstream protein kinase, regulating AMPK-related kinases as well as AMPK. Between them, these kinases may mediate the physiological effects of LKB1, including its tumour suppressor function.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)833-843
    Number of pages11
    JournalThe EMBO Journal
    Volume23
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

    Keywords

    • Cancer
    • Cell polarity
    • Diabetes
    • PAR1/MARK kinase
    • Peutz–Jeghers syndrome
    • TOF–TOF mass spectrometry

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