Adenylate kinase 5 (AK5) belongs to the adenylate kinase family that catalyses reversible phosphate transfer between adenine nucleotides, and it is related to various energetic signalling mechanisms. However, the role of AK5 in colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been reported. In this study, AK5 was significantly hypermethylated in CRC compared to adjacent normal tissues (P < 0.0001) and normal tissues (P = 0.0015). Although the difference in mRNA expression was not statistically significant in all of them, the selected 49 cases of CRC tissues with AK5 hypermethylation with the cut off value of 40% showed a significant inverse correlation with mRNA expression (P = 0.0003). DNA methylation of AK5 promoter significantly decreased and AK5 expression recovered by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine, DNA methyltransferase inhibitor in CRC cell lines. In addition, AK5 promoter activity significantly decreased due to DNA methyltransferase, and it increased due to 5-aza. Moreover, AK5 regulated the phosphorylated AMPK and mTOR phosphorylation and inhibited the cell migration and cell invasion in CRC cell lines. Furthermore, low AK5 expression is associated with poor differentiation (P = 0.014). These results demonstrate that the AK5 promoter is frequently hypermethylated and induced methylation-mediated gene down-regulation. AK5 expression regulates AMPK/mTOR signalling and may be closely related to metastasis in colorectal adenocarcinoma.
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