AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a critical regulator of cellular energy metabolism that controls many of the acute and adaptive effects of exercise in skeletal muscle (Kjøbsted et al, doi: 10.1096/fj.201700442R). As such, AMPK in skeletal muscle is an important drug target for Type 2 Diabetes, sarcopenia, cachexia, muscular dystrophy etc.
Skeletal muscle is the only organ in humans to express the regulatory AMPK γ3 isoform, which is differentiated from the other γ isoforms 1 & 2 by a unique N-terminal domain (NTD). Our extensive preliminary data has revealed an unexpected regulatory role for the γ3 NTD that could be exploited for muscle-specific AMPK activation, a major aim of big pharma.
Using a combination of biochemistry, cell biology, mass spectrometry and structural biology in a supportive and well-equipped environment, this exciting Honours project will generate new knowledge on the structure and function of AMPK γ3.
Applicants considering these projects will need to be motivated and curious.