Proteomics techniques have revealed that lysine acetylation is abundant in mitochondrial proteins. This study was undertaken (1) to determine the relationship between mitochondrial protein acetylation and insulin sensitivity in human skeletal muscle, identifying key acetylated proteins, and (2) to use molecular modeling techniques to understand the functional consequences of acetylation of adenine nucleotide translocase 1 (ANT1), which we found to be abundantly acetylated. Eight lean and eight obese nondiabetic subjects had euglycemic clamps and muscle biopsies for isolation of mitochondrial proteins and proteomics analysis. A number of acetylated mitochondrial proteins were identified in muscle biopsies. Overall, acetylation of mitochondrial proteins was correlated with insulin action (r = 0.60; P < 0.05). Of the acetylated proteins, ANT1, which catalyzes ADP-ATP exchange across the inner mitochondrial membrane, was acetylated at lysines 10, 23, and 92. The extent of acetylation of lysine 23 decreased following exercise, depending on insulin sensitivity. Molecular dynamics modeling and ensemble docking simulations predicted the ADP binding site of ANT1 to be a pocket of positively charged residues, including lysine 23. Calculated ADP-ANT1 binding affinities were physiologically relevant and predicted substantial reductions in affinity upon acetylation of lysine 23. Insertion of these derived binding affinities as parameters into a complete mathematical description of ANT1 kinetics predicted marked reductions in adenine nucleotide flux resulting from acetylation of lysine 23. Therefore, acetylation of ANT1 could have dramatic physiological effects on ADP-ATP exchange. Dysregulation of acetylation of mitochondrial proteins such as ANT1 therefore could be related to changes in mitochondrial function that are associated with insulin resistance.
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