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Cancer research

An Akt3 Splice Variant Lacking the Serine 472 Phosphorylation Site Promotes Apoptosis and Suppresses Mammary Tumorigenesis.


PMID 29038347

Abstract

The Akt pathway is a well-known promoter of tumor malignancy. Akt3 is expressed as two alternatively spliced variants, one of which lacks the key regulatory serine 472 phosphorylation site. Whereas the function of full-length Akt3 isoform (Akt3/+S472) is well-characterized, that of Akt3/-S472 isoform remains unknown. Despite being expressed at a substantially lower level than Akt3/+S472 in triple-negative breast cancer cells, specific ablation of Akt3/-S472 enhanced, whereas overexpression, suppressed mammary tumor growth, consistent with a significant association with patient survival duration relative to Akt3/+S472. These effects were due to striking induction of apoptosis, which was mediated by Bim upregulation, leading to conformational activation of Bax and caspase-3 processing. Bim accumulation was caused by marked endocytosis of EGF receptors with concomitant ERK attenuation, which stabilizes BIM. These findings demonstrate an unexpected function of an endogenously expressed Akt isoform in promoting, as opposed to suppressing, apoptosis, underscoring that Akt isoforms may exert dissonant functions in malignancy.

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