Inhibition of hepatic phosphatidylcholine synthesis by 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-4-ribofuranoside is independent of AMP-activated protein kinase activation

René L Jacobs, Susanne Lingrell, Jason R B Dyck, Dennis E Vance
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2007 February 16, 282 (7): 4516-23
5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-d-ribofuranoside (AICAr), a commonly used indirect activator of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), inhibits phosphatidylcholine (PC) biosynthesis in freshly isolated hepatocytes. In all nucleated mammalian cells, PC is synthesized from choline via the Kennedy (CDP-choline) pathway. The purpose of our study was to provide direct evidence that AMPK regulates phospholipid biosynthesis and to elucidate the mechanism(s) by which AMPK inhibits hepatic PC synthesis. Incubations of hepatocytes with AICAr resulted in a dose-dependent activation of AMPK and inhibition of PC biosynthesis. Surprisingly, adenoviral delivery of constitutively active AMPK did not alter PC biosynthesis. In addition, expression of dominant negative mutants of AMPK was unable to block the AICAr-dependent inhibition of PC biosynthesis, indicating that AICAr was acting independently of AMPK activation. Determination of aqueous intermediates of the CDP-choline pathway indicated that choline kinase, the first enzyme in the pathway, was inhibited by AICAr administration. Flux through the CDP-choline pathway was directly correlated to the level of intracellular ATP concentrations. Therefore, it is possible that inhibition of PC biosynthesis is another process by which the cell can reduce ATP consumption in times of energetic stress. However, unlike cholesterol and triacylglycerol biosynthesis, PC production is not regulated by AMPK.


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