AMPK is a conserved serine/threonine kinase whose activity maintains cellular energy homeostasis. Eukaryotic AMPK exists as αβγ complexes, whose regulatory γ subunit confers energy sensor function by binding adenine nucleotides. Humans bearing activating mutations in the γ2 subunit exhibit a phenotype including unexplained slowing of heart rate (bradycardia). Here, we show that γ2 AMPK activation downregulates fundamental sinoatrial cell pacemaker mechanisms to lower heart rate, including sarcolemmal hyperpolarization-activated current (I f ) and ryanodine receptor-derived diastolic local subsarcolemmal Ca 2+ release. In contrast, loss of γ2 AMPK induces a reciprocal phenotype of increased heart rate, and prevents the adaptive intrinsic bradycardia of endurance training. Our results reveal that in mammals, for which heart rate is a key determinant of cardiac energy demand, AMPK functions in an organ-specific manner to maintain cardiac energy homeostasis and determines cardiac physiological adaptation to exercise by modulating intrinsic sinoatrial cell behavior.
- cellular energy
- heart rate