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Eur J Biochem. 1999 Aug;263(3):605-11.

PTEN/MMAC1/TEP1 in signal transduction and tumorigenesis.

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Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The level of phosphorylation within cells is tightly regulated by the concerted action of protein kinases and protein phosphatases [Hunter, T. (1995) Cell 80, 225-236]. Disregulation in the activity of either of these players can lead to cellular transformation. Many protein tyrosine kinases are proto-oncogenes and it has been postulated that some protein phosphatases may act as tumor suppressors. Herein we will review the recent findings addressing the roles the candidate tumor suppressor PTEN/MMAC1/TEP1 (PTEN, phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted from chromosome 10; MMAC 1, mutated in multiple advanced cancers 1; TEP1, TGF beta regulated and epithelial cell enriched phosphatase 1) plays in signal transduction and tumorigenesis. PTEN is a dual specificity protein phosphatase (towards phospho-Ser/Thr and phospho-Tyr) and, unexpectedly, also has a phosphoinositide 3-phosphatase activity. PTEN plays an important role in the modulation of the 1-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PtdIns 3-kinase) pathway, by catalyzing the degradation of the PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 generated by PtdIns 3-kinase; this inhibits the downstream functions mediated by the PtdIns 3-kinase pathway, such as activation of protein kinase B (PKB, also known as Akt), cell survival and cell proliferation. Furthermore, PTEN modulates cell migration and invasion by negatively regulating the signals generated at the focal adhesions, through the direct dephosphorylation and inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Growth factor receptor signaling is also negatively regulated by PTEN, through the inhibition of the adaptor protein Shc. While some of the functions of PTEN have been elucidated, it is clear that there is much more to discover about the roles of this unique protein.

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