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Oncogene. 2000 May 4;19(19):2269-76.

PI-3-kinase is an essential anti-apoptotic effector in the proliferative response of primary human epithelial cells to mutant RAS.

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Department of Pathology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK.


In contrast to its growth-inhibitory effect on primary mesenchymal cells, RAS oncogene activation induces a proliferative phenotype in normal human thyroid epithelial cells in vitro, consistent with its putative role in tumour initiation. Using this model, we previously showed that activation of the MAP kinase (MAPK) pathway is necessary, but not sufficient for the proliferative response to mutant (V12) H-RAS. Here we extend this work to show that another major RAS effector-- phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI-3-K)--while also insufficient alone, is able to synergize with MAPK activation to mimic the effect of mutant RAS, albeit at reduced efficiency. Furthermore we show that PI-3-K is an absolute requirement for the proliferative response to RAS in these cells, acting via suppression of RAS-induced apoptosis. These data extend our understanding of RAS signalling in a clinically-relevant cell context and point to the use of PI-3-K inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents for targetting human cancers induced by RAS mutation.

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