Mammalian AMP-activated protein kinase presents strong structural and functional similarities with the yeast sucrose non-fermenting 1 (Snf1) kinase involved in the derepression of glucose-repressed genes. It is now clearly established that AMP-activated protein kinase in the liver decreases glycolytic/lipogenic gene expression as well as genes involved in hepatic glucose production. This is achieved through a decreased transcriptional efficiency of transcription factors such as sterol-regulatory-element-binding protein-1c, carbohydrate-response-element-binding protein, hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α or forkhead-related protein. Clearly, the long-term consequences of AMP-activated protein kinase activation have to be taken into account if activators of this enzyme are to be designed as anti-diabetic drugs.

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