Research ArticleMOLECULAR BIOLOGY

AMPK promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and function by phosphorylating the epigenetic factors DNMT1, RBBP7, and HAT1

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Sci. Signal.  31 Jan 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 464, eaaf7478
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaf7478

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Epigenetic control of mitochondria

When cellular energy is low, cells activate the kinase AMPK, which promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and function. Marin et al. found that AMPK phosphorylated three proteins involved in nucleosome remodeling: the DNA methyltransferase DNMT1, the histone acetyltransferase HAT1, and RBBP7, which inhibits DNMT1 and is a HAT1 coactivator. AMPK-mediated phosphorylation of these proteins triggered nucleosome remodeling that favored the transcription of nuclear-encoded genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and function in human cultured endothelial cells and mouse aortas. These results show that AMPK coordinates mitochondrial function with energy status through epigenetic regulation of nuclear gene expression.