PKB/Akt: a key mediator of cell proliferation, survival and insulin responses?

J Cell Sci. 2001 Aug;114(Pt 16):2903-10. doi: 10.1242/jcs.114.16.2903.


The serine/threonine protein kinase PKB (also known as Akt) is thought to be a key mediator of signal transduction processes. The identification of PKB substrates and the role PKB phosphorylation plays in regulating these molecules have been a major focus of research in recent years. A recently developed motif-profile scoring algorithm that can be used to scan the genome for potential PKB substrates is therefore a useful tool, although additional considerations, such as the evolutionary conservation of the phosphorylation site, must also be taken into account. Recent evidence indicates that PKB plays a key role in cancer progression by stimulating cell proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis and is also probably a key mediator of insulin signalling. These findings indicate that PKB is likely to be a hot drug target for the treatment of cancer, diabetes and stroke. There are, however, a number of pitfalls of methodologies currently employed to study PKB function, and therefore caution should be used in interpretation of such experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Insulin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt