Metabolic Signaling in the Sakamoto Group

The Sakamoto Group investigates fundamental molecular signaling mechanisms that control energy homeostasis and elucidates the regulation/function of potential therapeutic targets related to cardiometabolic disease.

Group photo of the Sakamoto Group
From left to right: Dipsikha Biswas, Greg Robert Markby, Ionela Florentina Negoita, Fiona Louise Roberts, Katarzyna Maria Luda, Kei Sakamoto, Marianne Agerholm Jensen, Anna Kristina Hellberg, Tenna Holgersen Bryde, Danial Ahwazi




 The overarching aim of the Sakamoto Group is to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying cellular energy sensing and restoration of metabolic balance. Our goal is to identify/validate drug candidates that ameliorate energetic imbalance in cardiometabolic disorders. 

We study how post-translational modifications (e.g., reversible phosphorylation) and allosteric regulation of signaling proteins/metabolic enzymes control cellular energy balance and how dysfunctions of such molecular processes lead to cardiometabolic diseases. One of our key molecular targets is AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master regulator of energy metabolism. We aim to 1) uncover mechanisms by which AMPK controls insulin-independent nutrient transport and utilization in metabolic tissues such as skeletal muscle and liver, and 2) identify small-molecules/peptides that ameliorate metabolic dysfunctions/imbalance through modulating AMPK.







“The phosphorylation of AMPKβ1 is critical for increasing autophagy and maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis in response to fatty acid”
Published in Proc Natl Acad Sci in 2022. We have demonstrated a crucial role for a single phosphorylation site on the regulatory beta subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy/mitophagy in response to increases in fatty acids.

“Metformin reduces liver glucose production by inhibition of fructose-1-6-bisphosphatase"
Published in Nature Medicine in 2018. Metformin is a first-line drug for the treatment of individuals with type 2 diabetes. We have identified a key molecular mechanism by which metformin suppresses hepatic glucose production through 5´-AMP-dependent inhibition of fructose-1-6-bisphosphatase.

“The LKB1-salt-inducible kinase pathway functions as a key gluconeogenic suppressor in the liver”
Published in Nature Communication in 2014. LKB1, originally identified as tumor suppressor, has recently been established as a master kinase that regulates metabolism and growth through AMPK and 12 other closely related kinases, including salt-inducible kinases (SIKs). We have demonstrated that the SIKs function as key gluconeogenic gate-keeper downstream of LKB1 through regulation of transcriptional co-activators and the gluconeogenic gene program in the liver. 






























Group Leader

Kei Sakamoto

Phone +45 35 33 40 07

Twitter: @kei_sakamoto

LinkedIn: Kei Sakamoto at CBMR

Kei Sakamoto

Staff list

Name Title Phone E-mail
Addinsall, Alex Bernard Postdoc +4535333560 E-mail
Ahwazi, Danial Enrolled PhD Student +4535325398 E-mail
Biswas, Dipsikha Postdoc +4535333454 E-mail
Cuenco, Joyceline Postdoc +4535325853 E-mail
Fraguas Bringas, Conchita PhD Fellow +4535321343 E-mail
Hellberg, Anna Kristina Staff Scientist +4520894788 E-mail
Holgersen Bryde, Tenna PhD Fellow +4581616072 E-mail
Jensen, Marianne Agerholm Staff Scientist +4535325063 E-mail
Konopka, Veronika Lauren Master Student   E-mail
Liu, Hongling External, Ph.d Student   E-mail
Luda, Katarzyna Maria Postdoc   E-mail
Morton, Nicholas Michael Visiting Professor   E-mail
Negoita, Ionela Florentina Postdoc   E-mail
Pradas Juni, Marta Staff Scientist +4535324485 E-mail
Sakamoto, Kei Professor +4535334007 E-mail