Tissue-specific kinase expression and activity regulate flux through the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex

Academic Article


  • The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) is a multienzyme assembly that converts pyruvate to acetyl-CoA. As pyruvate and acetyl-CoA play central roles in cellular metabolism, understanding PDC regulation is pivotal to understanding the larger metabolic network. The activity of mammalian PDC is regulated through reversible phosphorylation governed by at least four isozymes of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK). Deciphering which kinase regulates PDC in organisms at specific times or places has been challenging. In this study, we analyzed mouse strains carrying targeted mutations of individual isozymes to explore their role in regulating PDC activity. Analysis of protein content of PDK isozymes in major metabolic tissues revealed that PDK1 and PDK2 were ubiquitously expressed, whereas PDK3 and PDK4 displayed a rather limited tissue distribution. Measurement of kinase activity showed that PDK1 is the principal isozyme regulating hepatic PDC. PDK2 was largely responsible for inactivation of PDC in tissues of muscle origin and brown adipose tissue (BAT). PDK3 was the principal kinase regulating pyruvate dehydrogenase activity in kidney and brain. In a well-fed state, the tissue levels of PDK4 protein were fairly low. In most tissues tested, PDK4 ablation had little effect on the overall rates of inactivation of PDC in kinase reaction. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that the activity of PDC is regulated by different isozymes in different tissues. Furthermore, it appears that the overall flux through PDC in a given tissue largely reflects the properties of the PDK isozyme that is principally responsible for the regulation of PDC activity in that tissue.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Klyuyeva A; Tuganova A; Kedishvili N; Popov KM
  • Start Page

  • 838
  • End Page

  • 851
  • Volume

  • 294
  • Issue

  • 3