Genetic Analysis Reveals AMPK Is Required to Support Tumor Growth in Murine Kras-Dependent Lung Cancer Models

Cell Metab. 2019 Feb 5;29(2):285-302.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


AMPK, a conserved sensor of low cellular energy, can either repress or promote tumor growth depending on the context. However, no studies have examined AMPK function in autochthonous genetic mouse models of epithelial cancer. Here, we examine the role of AMPK in murine KrasG12D-mediated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a cancer type in humans that harbors frequent inactivating mutations in the LKB1 tumor suppressor-the predominant upstream activating kinase of AMPK and 12 related kinases. Unlike LKB1 deletion, AMPK deletion in KrasG12D lung tumors did not accelerate lung tumor growth. Moreover, deletion of AMPK in KrasG12D p53f/f tumors reduced lung tumor burden. We identified a critical role for AMPK in regulating lysosomal gene expression through the Tfe3 transcription factor, which was required to support NSCLC growth. Thus, AMPK supports the growth of KrasG12D-dependent lung cancer through the induction of lysosomes, highlighting an unrecognized liability of NSCLC.

Keywords: AMPK; Kras; LKB1; Tfe3; Tfeb; cancer; lung; lysosomes; metabolism; tumor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Loss of Function Mutation
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Mice


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Tcfe3 protein, mouse
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases