Regulation of mutual inhibitory activities between AMPK and Akt with quercetin in MCF-7 breast cancer cells

Oncol Rep. 2010 Dec;24(6):1493-7. doi: 10.3892/or_00001010.


In lieu of elucidating bidirectional connecting mechanism between AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and survival signal Akt we applied MCF-7 breast cancer cells to determine whether AMPK modulation alters Akt signals and vice versa. Suppression of Akt activities with a synthetic Akt inhibitor alleviated AMPK activities suggesting that Akt is capable of inhibiting AMPK. Also the activation of AMPK with quercetin strongly abrogated Akt activities. Treating cancer cells with AMPK siRNA or Compound C resulted in marked increment of Akt dephosphorylation indicating that AMPK has antagonistic activities towards Akt. However, quercetin exerted Akt inhibitory activities in the absence of AMPK activation. Quercetin induced partial co-localization of phospho-Akt and phospho-AMPK in the nucleus even though their interaction seems to be indirect since the immunoprecipitation data indicate there was no direct binding between total Akt and AMPK. These results suggest there is a mutual suppressive interaction between AMPK and Akt. The investigation of mutual suppression between Akt and AMPK by chemo-preventive agents such as quercetin may provide a mechanistic rational for controlling breast tumor cell growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Kinase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism*
  • Adenylate Kinase / physiology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / metabolism*
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / physiology
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Quercetin
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt
  • Adenylate Kinase