Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) is a protein kinase that plays essential roles in the control of several developmental, metabolic, and apoptotic processes. Owing to its negative actions on several oncogenic insults, it has been considered a putative functional tumor suppressor. We studied the expression, activity, and localization of GSK-3beta during the process of chemically induced two-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis and also in the tumors generated upon subcutaneous injection of Akt-transformed keratinocytes. We found that GSK-3 activity was downregulated at the later stages of promotion by tyrosine 216 dephosphorylation and serine 9 phosphorylation. The data obtained with Akt-transformed keratinocytes clearly suggested the involvement of Akt in serine 9 phosphorylation of GSK-3beta. Finally, besides functional inactivation, significant basal activity of GSK-3beta was detected in all cases, indicating that this enzyme provides essential functions to malignant keratinocytes.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.