Focus of Research: Cell Cycle Regulation And Development Of A Screen For P16 Mutants
Harvard Medical School
Co-Authors Vasudevan KM*, Davies MA*, Hahn WC, Garraway LA (*co-first authors)
Dysregulation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway occurs frequently in human cancer. PTEN tumor suppressor or PIK3CA oncogene mutations both direct PI3K-dependent tumorigenesis largely through activation of the AKT/PKB kinase. However, here we show through phosphoprotein profiling and functional genomic studies that many PIK3CA mutant cancer cell lines and human breast tumors exhibit only minimal AKT activation and a diminished reliance on AKT for anchorage-independent growth. Instead, these cells retain robust PDK1 activation and membrane localization and exhibit dependency on the PDK1 substrate SGK3. SGK3 undergoes PI3K- and PDK1-dependent activation in PIK3CA mutant cancer cells. Thus, PI3K may promote cancer through both AKT-dependent and AKT-independent mechanisms. Knowledge of differential PI3K/PDK1 signaling could inform rational therapeutics in cancers harboring PIK3CA mutations.