Regulation of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 in the heart through degradation by the lon protease in response to mitochondrial substrate availability

Clair Crewe, Christopher Schafer, Irene Lee, Michael Kinter, Luke I. Szweda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Cardiac metabolic inflexibility is driven by robust up-regulation of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) and phosphorylation- dependent inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) within a single day of feeding mice a high fat diet. In the current study, we have discovered that PDK4 is a short lived protein (t1/2 ∼ 1h) and is specifically degraded by the mitochondrial protease Lon. Lon does not rapidly degrade PDK1 and -2, indicating specificity toward the PDK isoform that is a potent modulator of metabolic flexibility. Moreover, PDK4 degradation appears regulated by dissociation from the PDH complex dependent on the respiratory state and energetic substrate availability of mouse heart mitochondria. Finally, we demonstrate that pharmacologic inhibition of PDK4 promotes PDK4 degradation in vitro and in vivo. These findings reveal a novel strategy to manipulate PDH activity by selectively targeting PDK4 content through dissociation and proteolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 6 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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