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J Cell Biol. 1998 Nov 30;143(5):1375-83.

Tumor suppressor PTEN inhibits integrin- and growth factor-mediated mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling pathways.

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Craniofacial Developmental Biology and Regeneration Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4370, USA.


The tumor suppressor PTEN dephosphorylates focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and inhibits integrin-mediated cell spreading and cell migration. We demonstrate here that expression of PTEN selectively inhibits activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. PTEN expression in glioblastoma cells lacking the protein resulted in inhibition of integrin-mediated MAP kinase activation. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)- induced MAPK activation were also blocked. To determine the specific point of inhibition in the Ras/Raf/ MEK/ERK pathway, we examined these components after stimulation by fibronectin or growth factors. Shc phosphorylation and Ras activity were inhibited by expression of PTEN, whereas EGF receptor autophosphorylation was unaffected. The ability of cells to spread at normal rates was partially rescued by coexpression of constitutively activated MEK1, a downstream component of the pathway. In addition, focal contact formation was enhanced as indicated by paxillin staining. The phosphatase domain of PTEN was essential for all of these functions, because PTEN with an inactive phosphatase domain did not suppress MAP kinase or Ras activity. In contrast to its effects on ERK, PTEN expression did not affect c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) or PDGF-stimulated Akt. Our data suggest that a general function of PTEN is to down-regulate FAK and Shc phosphorylation, Ras activity, downstream MAP kinase activation, and associated focal contact formation and cell spreading.

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