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Trends Cell Biol. 1999 Apr;9(4):125-8.

PTEN: a tumour suppressor that functions as a phospholipid phosphatase.

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  • 1Dept of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, USA.


The tumour suppressor PTEN has been implicated in a large number of human tumours and is conserved from humans to worms. Characterization of PTEN protein showed that it is a phosphatase that acts on proteins and on 3-phosphorylated phosphoinositides, including phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate, and can therefore modulate signal-transduction pathways that involve lipid second messengers. Recent results indicate that at least part of its role is to regulate the activity of the serine/threonine kinase AKT/PKB, and thus influence cell survival signalling. This article discusses the function of PTEN and how this could be linked to its activity as a tumour suppressor.

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