Quantitative In Vivo Proteomics of Metformin Response in Liver Reveals AMPK-Dependent and -Independent Signaling Networks

Cell Rep. 2019 Dec 3;29(10):3331-3348.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.10.117.


Metformin is the front-line treatment for type 2 diabetes worldwide. It acts via effects on glucose and lipid metabolism in metabolic tissues, leading to enhanced insulin sensitivity. Despite significant effort, the molecular basis for metformin response remains poorly understood, with a limited number of specific biochemical pathways studied to date. To broaden our understanding of hepatic metformin response, we combine phospho-protein enrichment in tissue from genetically engineered mice with a quantitative proteomics platform to enable the discovery and quantification of basophilic kinase substrates in vivo. We define proteins whose binding to 14-3-3 are acutely regulated by metformin treatment and/or loss of the serine/threonine kinase, LKB1. Inducible binding of 250 proteins following metformin treatment is observed, 44% of which proteins bind in a manner requiring LKB1. Beyond AMPK, metformin activates protein kinase D and MAPKAPK2 in an LKB1-independent manner, revealing additional kinases that may mediate aspects of metformin response. Deeper analysis uncovered substrates of AMPK in endocytosis and calcium homeostasis.

Keywords: AMPK3; LKB1; PKD1; STIM1; aging; calcium; diabetes; kinases; liver; metformin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Endocytosis / drug effects
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Metformin / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Metformin
  • MAP-kinase-activated kinase 2
  • protein kinase D
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Protein Kinase C
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Calcium