Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) phosphorylates the 3-position of phosphatidylinositol to give rise to three signaling phospholipids. Binding of the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain of Akt to membrane PI(3)P's causes the translocation of Akt to the plasma membrane bringing it into contact with membrane-bound Akt kinase (PDK1 and 2), which phosphorylates and activates Akt. Akt inhibits apoptosis by phosphorylating Bad, thus promoting its binding to and blockade of the activity of the cell survival factor Bcl-x. Herein we present the synthesis and biological activity of several novel phosphatidylinositol analogues and demonstrate the ability of the carbonate group to function as a surrogate for the phosphate moiety. Due to a combination of their PI3-K and Akt inhibitory activities, the PI analogues 2, 3, and 5 proved to be good inhibitors of the growth of various cancer cell lines with IC(50) values in the 1-10 microM range. The enhanced Akt inhibitory activity of the axial hydroxymethyl-bearing analogue 5 compared to its equatorial counterpart 6 is rationalized based upon postulated differences in the H-bonding patterns of these compounds in complex with a homology modeling generated structure of the PH domain of Akt. This work represents the first attempt to examine the effects of 3-modified PI analogues on these two crucial cell signaling proteins, PI3-K and Akt, in an effort to better understand their cell growth inhibitory properties.