Increased insulin sensitivity in mice lacking p85β subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase
On the basis of ex vivo studies using insulin-responsive cells, activation of a Class IA phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) seems to be required for a wide variety of cellular responses downstream of insulin. The Class IA PI3K enzymes are heterodimers of catalytic and regulatory subunits. In mammals, insulin-responsive tissues express both the p85alpha and p85beta isoforms of the regulatory subunit. Surprisingly, recent studies have revealed that disruption of the p85alpha gene in the mouse (p85alpha(-/-) mice) results in hypoglycemia with decreased plasma insulin, and the p85alpha(+/-) mice exhibit significantly increased insulin sensitivity. These results suggest either that p85alpha negatively regulates insulin signaling, or that p85beta, which mediates the major fraction of Class IA PI3K signaling in the absence of p85alpha, is more efficient than p85alpha in mediating insulin responses. To address this question, we have generated mice in which the p85beta gene is deleted (p85beta(-/-) mice). As with the p85alpha(-/-) mice, the p85beta(-/-) mice showed hypoinsulinemia, hypoglycemia, and improved insulin sensitivity. At the molecular level, PI3K activity associated with phosphotyrosine complexes was preserved despite a 20-30% reduction in the total protein level of the regulatory subunits. Moreover, insulin-induced activation of AKT was significantly up-regulated in muscle from the p85beta(-/-) mice. In addition, insulin-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-2 was enhanced in the p85beta(-/-) mice, a phenotype not observed in the p85alpha(-/-) mice. These results indicate that in addition to their roles in recruiting the catalytic subunit of PI3K to the insulin receptor substrate proteins, both p85alpha and p85beta play negative roles in insulin signaling.