Skeletal muscle is critical for whole-body glucose homoeostasis. Insulin and muscle contractions induced by exercise can increase glucose uptake through distinct intracellular signalling pathways involving PKB (protein kinase B)/Akt and AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) respectively. Whereas the proximal events governing these processes are becoming well understood, less is known about the regulation of the complex events necessary for the control of glucose uptake at the plasma membrane. In recent years, a number of common targets of AMPK and PKB/Akt have emerged as important components controlling glucose uptake, but the necessary phosphorylation events required for the control of glucose uptake have remained more elusive. In the current issue of the Biochemical Journal, Liu et al. identify that PIKfyve, a phosphoinositide phosphate kinase, is required for contraction-stimulated glucose uptake. They demonstrate that AMPK directly phosphorylates PIKfyve at Ser307, the same site as PKB/Akt, and that phosphorylation is increased in response to muscle contractions. These data provide compelling evidence for a new AMPK substrate that converges with PKB/Akt signalling and may be critical for the control of glucose uptake in skeletal muscle.

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