Review Article | Published:

Controlling the master—upstream regulation of the tumor suppressor LKB1

Oncogenevolume 37pages30453057 (2018) | Download Citation


The tumor suppressor LKB1 is an essential serine/threonine kinase, which regulates various cellular processes such as cell metabolism, cell proliferation, cell polarity, and cell migration. Germline mutations in the STK11 gene (encoding LKB1) are the cause of the Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, which is characterized by benign polyps in the intestine and a higher risk for the patients to develop intestinal and extraintestinal tumors. Moreover, mutations and misregulation of LKB1 have been reported to occur in most types of tumors and are among the most common aberrations in lung cancer. LKB1 activates several downstream kinases of the AMPK family by direct phosphorylation in the T-loop. In particular the activation of AMPK upon energetic stress has been intensively analyzed in various diseases, including cancer to induce a metabolic switch from anabolism towards catabolism to regulate energy homeostasis and cell survival. In contrast, the regulation of LKB1 itself has long been only poorly understood. Only in the last years, several proteins and posttranslational modifications of LKB1 have been analyzed to control its localization, activity and recognition of substrates. Here, we summarize the current knowledge about the upstream regulation of LKB1, which is important for the understanding of the pathogenesis of many types of tumors.

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This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG, SFB1348-A5).

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  1. Internal Medicine D, University Hospital of Münster, Domagkstr. 3a, 48149, Münster, Germany

    • Lars Kullmann
    •  & Michael P. Krahn


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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Michael P. Krahn.

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