PTEN: a tumour suppressor that functions as a phospholipid phosphatase

Trends Cell Biol. 1999 Apr;9(4):125-8. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(99)01519-6.


The tumour suppressor PTEN has been implicated in a large number of human tumours and is conserved from humans to worms. Characterization of PTEN protein showed that it is a phosphatase that acts on proteins and on 3-phosphorylated phosphoinositides, including phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate, and can therefore modulate signal-transduction pathways that involve lipid second messengers. Recent results indicate that at least part of its role is to regulate the activity of the serine/threonine kinase AKT/PKB, and thus influence cell survival signalling. This article discusses the function of PTEN and how this could be linked to its activity as a tumour suppressor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, Lethal
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor*
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Inositol Phosphates / metabolism
  • Invertebrates / genetics
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / metabolism*
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Inositol Phosphates
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Phospholipids
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • inositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human