A heterotrimeric member of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) isoenzyme family was purified from rat skeletal muscle by immunoaffinity chromatography, consisting of an alpha2 catalytic and two non-catalytic subunits, beta2 and gamma1. The AMPK beta2 cDNA (271 amino acids (aa), molecular weight (MW)=30¿ omitted¿307, pI 6. 3) was cloned from skeletal muscle and found to share an overall identity of 70% with beta1 (270 aa, MW=30¿ omitted¿475, pI 6.0). In the liver AMPK beta1 subunit, Ser-182 is constitutively phosphorylated whereas in skeletal muscle beta2 isoform, we find that Ser-182 is only partially phosphorylated. In addition, the autophosphorylation sites Ser-24, Ser-25 found in the beta1 are replaced by Ala-Glu in the beta2 isoform. beta2 contains seven more Ser and one less Thr residues than beta1, raising the possibility of differential post-translational regulation. Immunoblot analysis further revealed that soleus muscle (slow twitch) contains exclusively beta1 associated with alpha2, whereas extensor digitorum longus muscle alpha2 (EDL, fast twitch) associates with beta2 as well as beta1. Sequence analysis revealed that glycogen synthase, a known AMPK substrate, co-immunoprecipitated with the AMPK alpha2beta2gamma1 complex.