AMPK and mTOR play principal roles in governing metabolic programs; however, mechanisms underlying the coordination of the two inversely regulated kinases remain unclear. In this study we found, most surprisingly, that the late endosomal/lysosomal protein complex v-ATPase-Ragulator, essential for activation of mTORC1, is also required for AMPK activation. We also uncovered that AMPK is a residential protein of late endosome/lysosome. Under glucose starvation, the v-ATPase-Ragulator complex is accessible to AXIN/LKB1 for AMPK activation. Concurrently, the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) activity of Ragulator toward RAG is inhibited by AXIN, causing dissociation from endosome and inactivation of mTORC1. We have thus revealed that the v-ATPase-Ragulator complex is also an initiating sensor for energy stress and meanwhile serves as an endosomal docking site for LKB1-mediated AMPK activation by forming the v-ATPase-Ragulator-AXIN/LKB1-AMPK complex, thereby providing a switch between catabolism and anabolism. Our current study also emphasizes a general role of late endosome/lysosome in controlling metabolic programs.
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