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Curr Biol. 2000 Apr 6;10(7):401-4.

Genetic deletion of the Pten tumor suppressor gene promotes cell motility by activation of Rac1 and Cdc42 GTPases.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Immunology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, 90095-1735, USA.


Pten (Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) is a recently identified tumor suppressor gene which is deleted or mutated in a variety of primary human cancers and in three cancer predisposition syndromes [1]. Pten regulates apoptosis and cell cycle progression through its phosphatase activity on phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PI(3,4,5)P(3)), a product of PI 3-kinase [2-5]. Pten has also been implicated in controlling cell migration [6], but the exact mechanism is not very clear. Using the isogenic Pten(+/+) and Pten(-/-) mouse fibroblast lines, here we show that Pten deficiency led to increased cell motility. Reintroducing the wild-type Pten, but not the catalytically inactive Pten C124S or lipid-phosphatase-deficient Pten G129E mutant, reduced the enhanced cell motility of Pten-deficient cells. Moreover, phosphorylation of the focal adhesion kinase p125(FAK) was not changed in Pten(-/-) cells. Instead, significant increases in the endogenous activities of Rac1 and Cdc42, two small GTPases involved in regulating the actin cytoskeleton [7], were observed in Pten(-/-) cells. Overexpression of dominant-negative mutant forms of Rac1 and Cdc42 reversed the cell migration phenotype of Pten(-/-) cells. Thus, our studies suggest that Pten negatively controls cell motility through its lipid phosphatase activity by down-regulating Rac1 and Cdc42.

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