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Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Aug;33(16):3091-8. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00319-13. Epub 2013 Jun 3.

PD-1 increases PTEN phosphatase activity while decreasing PTEN protein stability by inhibiting casein kinase 2.

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Department of Hematology-Oncology and Cancer Biology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Programmed death 1 (PD-1) is a potent inhibitor of T cell responses. PD-1 abrogates activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway, but the mechanism remains unclear. We determined that during T cell receptor (TCR)/CD3- and CD28-mediated stimulation, PTEN is phosphorylated by casein kinase 2 (CK2) in the Ser380-Thr382-Thr383 cluster within the C-terminal regulatory domain, which stabilizes PTEN, resulting in increased protein abundance but suppressed PTEN phosphatase activity. PD-1 inhibited the stabilizing phosphorylation of the Ser380-Thr382-Thr383 cluster within the C-terminal domain of PTEN, thereby resulting in ubiquitin-dependent degradation and diminished abundance of PTEN protein but increased PTEN phosphatase activity. These effects on PTEN were secondary to PD-1-mediated inhibition of CK2 and were recapitulated by pharmacologic inhibition of CK2 during TCR/CD3- and CD28-mediated stimulation without PD-1. Furthermore, PD-1-mediated diminished abundance of PTEN was reversed by inhibition of ubiquitin-dependent proteasomal degradation. Our results identify CK2 as a new target of PD-1 and reveal an unexpected mechanism by which PD-1 decreases PTEN protein expression while increasing PTEN activity, thereby inhibiting the PI3K/Akt signaling axis.

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