In eukaryotic cells AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a major role in regulating cellular energy balance. AMPK responds to changes in intracellular adenine nucleotide levels, being activated by an increase in AMP/ADP relative to ATP. Activation of AMPK increases the rate of catabolic (ATP-generating) pathways and decreases the rate of anabolic (ATP-utilising) pathways. In addition to its role in maintaining intracellular energy balance, AMPK regulates whole body energy metabolism. Given its key role in controlling energy homeostasis, AMPK has attracted widespread interest as a potential therapeutic target for metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and, more recently, cancer. Here I review the regulation of AMPK and its potential as a target for therapeutic intervention in human disease.
Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.