Ion Channel Regulation by the LKB1-AMPK Signalling Pathway: The Key to Carotid Body Activation by Hypoxia and Metabolic Homeostasis at the Whole Body Level
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Our recent investigations provide further support for the proposal that, consequent to inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) mediates carotid body excitation by hypoxia. Consistent with the effects of hypoxia, intracellular dialysis from a patch pipette of an active (thiophosphorylated) recombinant AMPK heterotrimer (α2β2γ1) or application of the AMPK activators AICAR and A769662: (1) Inhibited BKCa currents and TASK K+ currents in rat carotid body type I cells; (2) Inhibited whole-cell currents carried by KCa1.1 and TASK3, but not TASK1 channels expressed in HEK293 cells; (3) Triggered carotid body activation. Furthermore, preliminary studies using mice with conditional knockout in type I cells of the primary upstream kinase that activates AMPK in response to metabolic stresses, LKB1, appear to confirm our working hypothesis. Studies on mice with knockout of the catalytic α1 subunit and α2 subunits of AMPK, respectively, have proved equally consistent. Accumulating evidence therefore suggests that the LKB1-AMPK signalling pathway is necessary for hypoxia-response coupling by the carotid body, and serves to regulate oxygen and therefore energy supply at the whole body level.
KeywordsHypoxia Carotid body LKB1 AMPK BKCa TASK Ventilation Afferent discharge
These studies were supported by a Programme Grant from the Wellcome Trust (81195, to AME, CP and DGH).
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