Adenylate kinase and AMP signaling networks: metabolic monitoring, signal communication and body energy sensing

Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Apr 17;10(4):1729-1772. doi: 10.3390/ijms10041729.


Adenylate kinase and downstream AMP signaling is an integrated metabolic monitoring system which reads the cellular energy state in order to tune and report signals to metabolic sensors. A network of adenylate kinase isoforms (AK1-AK7) are distributed throughout intracellular compartments, interstitial space and body fluids to regulate energetic and metabolic signaling circuits, securing efficient cell energy economy, signal communication and stress response. The dynamics of adenylate kinase-catalyzed phosphotransfer regulates multiple intracellular and extracellular energy-dependent and nucleotide signaling processes, including excitation-contraction coupling, hormone secretion, cell and ciliary motility, nuclear transport, energetics of cell cycle, DNA synthesis and repair, and developmental programming. Metabolomic analyses indicate that cellular, interstitial and blood AMP levels are potential metabolic signals associated with vital functions including body energy sensing, sleep, hibernation and food intake. Either low or excess AMP signaling has been linked to human disease such as diabetes, obesity and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Recent studies indicate that derangements in adenylate kinase-mediated energetic signaling due to mutations in AK1, AK2 or AK7 isoforms are associated with hemolytic anemia, reticular dysgenesis and ciliary dyskinesia. Moreover, hormonal, food and antidiabetic drug actions are frequently coupled to alterations of cellular AMP levels and associated signaling. Thus, by monitoring energy state and generating and distributing AMP metabolic signals adenylate kinase represents a unique hub within the cellular homeostatic network.

Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase; ATP-sensitive potassium channel; Phosphotransfer enzymes; adenosine 5’-monophosphate; adenosine 5’-triphosphate; energy transfer; nucleotide metabolism; system bioenergetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate / metabolism*
  • Adenylate Kinase / genetics
  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / metabolism
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / pathology
  • Humans
  • Leukopenia / metabolism
  • Leukopenia / pathology
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency / metabolism
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency / pathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Adenylate Kinase

Supplementary concepts

  • Reticular dysgenesis