NUAK1 is a member of the AMP-activated protein kinase-related kinase family. Recent studies have shown that NUAK1 is involved in cellular senescence and motility in epithelial cells and fibroblasts. However, the physiological roles of NUAK1 are poorly understood because of embryonic lethality in NUAK1 null mice. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the roles of NUAK1 in adult tissues. We determined the tissue distribution of NUAK1 and generated muscle-specific NUAK1 knock-out (MNUAK1KO) mice. For phenotypic analysis, whole body glucose homeostasis and muscle glucose metabolism were examined. Quantitative phosphoproteome analysis of soleus muscle was performed to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the knock-out phenotype. Nuak1mRNAwas preferentially expressed in highly oxidative tissues such as brain, heart, and soleus muscle. On a high fat diet, MNUAK1KO mice had a lower fasting blood glucose level, greater glucose tolerance, higher insulin sensitivity, and higher concentration of muscle glycogen than control mice. Phosphoproteome analysis revealed that phosphorylation of IRS1 Ser-1097 was markedly decreased in NUAK1-deficient muscle. Consistent with this, insulin signaling was enhanced in the soleus muscle of MNUAK1KO mice, as evidenced by increased phosphorylation of IRS1 Tyr-608, AKT Thr-308, and TBC1D4 Thr-649. These observations suggest that a physiological role of NUAK1 is to suppress glucose uptake through negative regulation of insulin signaling in oxidative muscle.
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