Positive and Negative Roles of p85α and p85β Regulatory Subunits of Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase in Insulin Signaling Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Insulin
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Class IA phosphoinositide (PI) 3-kinase is composed of a p110 catalytic subunit and a p85 regulatory subunit and plays a pivotal role in insulin signaling. To explore the physiological roles of two major regulatory isoforms, p85 alpha and p85 beta, we have established brown adipose cell lines with disruption of the Pik3r1 or Pik3r2 gene. Pik3r1-/- (p85 alpha-/-) cells show a 70% reduction of p85 protein and a parallel reduction of p110. These cells have a 50% decrease in PI 3-kinase activity and a 30% decrease in Akt activity, leading to decreased insulin-induced glucose uptake and anti-apoptosis. Pik3r2-/- (p85 beta-/-) cells show a 25% reduction of p85 protein but normal levels of p85-p110 and PI 3-kinase activity, supporting the fact that p85 is more abundant than p110 in wild type. p85 beta-/- cells, however, exhibit significantly increased insulin-induced Akt activation, leading to increased anti-apoptosis. Reconstitution experiments suggest that the discrepancy between PI 3-kinase activity and Akt activity is at least in part due to the p85-dependent negative regulation of downstream signaling of PI 3-kinase. Indeed, both p85 alpha-/- cells and p85 beta-/- cells exhibit significantly increased insulin-induced glycogen synthase activation. p85 alpha-/- cells show decreased insulin-stimulated Jun N-terminal kinase activity, which is restored by expression of p85 alpha, p85 beta, or a p85 mutant that does not bind to p110, indicating the existence of p85-dependent, but PI 3-kinase-independent, signaling pathway. Furthermore, a reduction of p85 beta specifically increases insulin receptor substrate-2 phosphorylation. Thus, p85 alpha and p85 beta modulate PI 3-kinase-dependent signaling by multiple mechanisms and transmit signals independent of PI 3-kinase activation.

publication date

  • November 28, 2003



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1074/jbc.M305602200

PubMed ID

  • 14504291

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 48453

end page

  • 66


  • 278


  • 48