Adenylate Kinase and Metabolic Signaling in Cancer Cells

Aleksandr Klepinin, Song Zhang, Ljudmila Klepinina, Egle Rebane-Klemm, Andre Terzic, Tuuli Kaambre, Petras Dzeja

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A hallmark of cancer cells is the ability to rewire their bioenergetics and metabolic signaling circuits to fuel their uncontrolled proliferation and metastasis. Adenylate kinase (AK) is the critical enzyme in the metabolic monitoring of cellular adenine nucleotide homeostasis. It also directs AK→ AMP→ AMPK signaling controlling cell cycle and proliferation, and ATP energy transfer from mitochondria to distribute energy among cellular processes. The significance of AK isoform network in the regulation of a variety of cellular processes, which include cell differentiation and motility, is rapidly growing. Adenylate kinase 2 (AK2) isoform, localized in intermembrane and intra-cristae space, is vital for mitochondria nucleotide exchange and ATP export. AK2 deficiency disrupts cell energetics, causes severe human diseases, and is embryonically lethal in mice, signifying the importance of catalyzed phosphotransfer in cellular energetics. Suppression of AK phosphotransfer and AMP generation in cancer cells and consequently signaling through AMPK could be an important factor in the initiation of cancerous transformation, unleashing uncontrolled cell cycle and growth. Evidence also builds up that shift in AK isoforms is used later by cancer cells for rewiring energy metabolism to support their high proliferation activity and tumor progression. As cell motility is an energy-consuming process, positioning of AK isoforms to increased energy consumption sites could be an essential factor to incline cancer cells to metastases. In this review, we summarize recent advances in studies of the significance of AK isoforms involved in cancer cell metabolism, metabolic signaling, metastatic potential, and a therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number660
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - May 19 2020


  • adenylate kinase
  • cancer
  • energy metabolism
  • mitochondria
  • phosphotransfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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