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PLoS One. 2008 Mar 12;3(3):e1769. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001769.

Nucleotide sequence variation within the PI3K p85 alpha gene associates with alcohol risk drinking behaviour in adolescents.

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Section of Addiction Biology, Interdisciplinary Research Group Addiction and NIHR-Biomedical Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, United Kingdom.



While the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent signaling pathway is typically known to regulate cell growth and survival, emerging evidence suggest a role for this pathway in regulating the behavioural responses to addictive drugs.


To investigate whether PI3K contributes to patterns of risky alcohol drinking in human, we investigated genetic variations in PIK3R1, encoding the 85 kD regulatory subunit of PIK, in 145 family trios consisting of 15-16 year old adolescents and their parents. Screening for mutations in exons, exon-intron boundaries and regulatory sequences, we identified 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PIK3R1 gene region from exon 1 to the beginning of the 3' untranslated region (UTR). These SNPs defined haplotypes for the respective PIK3R1 region. Four haplotype tagging (ht)SNPs (rs706713, rs2302975, rs171649 and rs1043526), discriminating all haplotypes with a frequency >or=4.5% were identified. These htSNPs were used to genotype adolescents from the "Mannheim Study of Risk Children" (MARC). Transmission disequilibrium tests in these adolescents and their parents demonstrated sex-specific association of two SNPs, rs2302975 and rs1043526, with patterns of risky alcohol consumption in male adolescents, including lifetime prevalence of drunkenness (p = 0.0019 and 0.0379, respectively) and elevated maximum amount of drinking (p = 0.0020 and 0.0494, respectively), as a measure for binge drinking pattern.


Our findings highlight a previously unknown relevance of PIK3R1 genotypes for alcohol use disorders and might help discriminate individuals at risk for alcoholism.

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