PI3K/AKT Signaling


Pathway Description

Phosphatidylinositol 3 kinases (PI3K) are a family of lipid kinases whose inositol lipid products play a central role in signal transduction pathways of cytokines, growth factors and other extracellular matrix proteins. PI3Ks are divided into three classes: Class I, II and III with Class I being the best studied one. It is a heterodimer consisting of a catalytic and regulatory subunit. These are most commonly found to be p110 and p85. Phosphorylation of phosphoinositide(4,5)bisphosphate (PIP2) by Class I PI3K generates PtdIns(3,4,5)P3.The different PI3ks are involved in a variety of signaling pathways. This is mediated through their interaction with molecules like the receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), the adapter molecules GAB1-GRB2, and the kinase JAK. These converge to activate PDK1 which then phosphorylates AKT. AKT follows two distinct paths: 1) Inhibitory role - for example, AKT inhibits apoptosis by phosphorylating the Bad component of the Bad/Bcl-XL complex, allowing for cell survival. 2) Activating role - AKT activates IKK leading to NF-κB activation and cell survival. By its inhibitory as well as activating role, AKT is involved in numerous cellular processes like energy storage, cell cycle progression, protein synthesis and angiogenesis.


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