Priority Research Papers:

Domain analysis reveals striking functional differences between the regulatory subunits of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), p85α and p85β

Yoshihiro Ito, Peter K. Vogt, _ Jonathan R. Hart

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:55863-55876. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19866

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Yoshihiro Ito1, Peter K. Vogt1 and Jonathan R. Hart1

1 Department of Molecular Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA

Correspondence to:

Peter K. Vogt, email:

Keywords: SH2 domain, SH3 domain, RhoGAP domain, iSH2 domain, domain exchange

Received: November 11, 2016 Accepted: July 12, 2017 Published: August 03, 2017


Our understanding of isoform-specific activities of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) is still rudimentary, and yet, deep knowledge of these non-redundant functions in the PI3K family is essential for effective and safe control of PI3K in disease. The two major isoforms of the regulatory subunits of PI3K are p85α and p85β, encoded by the genes PIK3R1 and PIK3R2, respectively. These isoforms show distinct functional differences that affect and control cellular PI3K activity and signaling [1-4]. In this study, we have further explored the differences between p85α and p85β by genetic truncations and substitutions. We have discovered unexpected activities of the mutant proteins that reflect regulatory functions of distinct p85 domains. These results can be summarized as follows: Deletion of the SH3 domain increases oncogenic and PI3K signaling activity. Deletion of the combined SH3-RhoGAP domains abolishes these activities. In p85β, deletion of the cSH2 domain reduces oncogenic and signaling activities. In p85α, such a deletion has an activating effect. The deletions of the combined cSH2 and iSH2 domains and also the deletion of the cSH2, iSH2 and nSH2 domains yield results that go in the same direction, generally activating in p85α and reducing activity in p85β. The contrasting functions of the cSH2 domains are verified by domain exchanges with the cSH2 domain of p85β exerting an activating effect and the cSH2 domain of p85α an inactivating effect, even in the heterologous isoform. In the cell systems studied, protein stability was not correlated with oncogenic and signaling activity. These observations significantly expand our knowledge of the isoform-specific activities of p85α and p85β and of the functional significance of specific domains for regulating the catalytic subunits of class IA PI3K.

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PII: 19866