Study of Energy sensor AMPK gamma regulates translation via phosphatase PPP6C independent of AMPK alpha. Qi Zhou et al
Maintenance of energy level to drive movements and material exchange with the environment is a basic principle of life. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) senses energy level, and is a major regulator of cellular energy responses. The gamma subunit of AMPK senses elevated ratio of AMP to ATP, and allosterically activates the alpha catalytic subunit to phosphorylate downstream effectors. Here we report that knockout of AMPKγ, but not AMPKα, suppressed phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2 (eEF2) induced by energy starvation. We identified PPP6C as an AMPKγ-regulated phosphatase of eEF2. AMP-bound AMPKγ sequesters PPP6C, thereby blocking dephosphorylation of eEF2, and thus inhibits translation elongation to preserve energy and to promote cell survival. Further phosphoproteomic analysis identified additional targets of PPP6C regulated by energy stress in an AMPKγ-dependent manner. Thus, AMPKγ senses cellular energy availability to regulate not only AMPKα kinase, but also PPP6C phosphatase, and possibly other effectors.