Author(s): Gottlob K, Majewski N, Kennedy S, Kandel E, Robey RB,
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Abstract The serine/threonine kinase Akt/PKB is a major downstream effector of growth factor-mediated cell survival. Activated Akt, like Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, prevents closure of a PT pore component, the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC); intracellular acidification; mitochondrial hyperpolarization; and the decline in oxidative phosphorylation that precedes cytochrome c release. However, unlike Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, the ability of activated Akt to preserve mitochondrial integrity, and thereby inhibit apoptosis, requires glucose availability and is coupled to its metabolism. Hexokinases are known to bind to VDAC and directly couple intramitochondrial ATP synthesis to glucose metabolism. We provide evidence that such coupling serves as a downstream effector function for Akt. First, Akt increases mitochondria-associated hexokinase activity. Second, the antiapoptotic activity of Akt requires only the first committed step of glucose metabolism catalyzed by hexokinase. Finally, ectopic hexokinase expression mimics the ability of Akt to inhibit cytochrome c release and apoptosis. We therefore propose that Akt increases coupling of glucose metabolism to oxidative phosphorylation and regulates PT pore opening via the promotion of hexokinase-VDAC interaction at the outer mitochondrial membrane.
This article was published in Genes Dev
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology