Penn Researchers Discover New Role for Master Regulator in Cell Metabolism, Response to Stress

July 20, 2010

Penn Medicine Press Release

Clinical Implications for Obesity, Diabetes, and Cancer Research

Biologists have been studying how the protein AMPK works for several decades and know that once it is activated, AMPK turns on a large number of genes by passing the "make more energy" message through numerous signaling cascades in the cell. What was not known, until now, was that AMPK also works via an epigenetic mechanism to slow down or stop cell growth. Shelley Berger, PhD, Daniel S. Och University Professor and director of the Epigenetics Program, and David Bungard, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Berger lab, in collaboration with Craig Thompson, MD, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, found that AMPK binds directly to sites on chromosomes called promoters that regulate gene expression related to cell metabolism. They published their findings this week online in Science Express. Read More