Positive feedback regulation between AKT activation and fatty acid synthase expression in ovarian carcinoma cells

Oncogene. 2005 May 19;24(22):3574-82. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208463.


Activation of AKT and overexpression of fatty acid synthase (FAS) are frequently observed in human ovarian cancer. To explore a possible connection between AKT and FAS, immunohistochemical analyses were conducted on an ovarian cancer tissue microarray, which revealed a significant correlation between phosphorylated AKT (phospho-AKT) and expression of FAS. To investigate the relationship between phospho-AKT and FAS in vitro, a variety of experiments employing a specific phosphatidylinositol 3-OH kinase (PI3K) inhibitor (LY294002), inducible PTEN expression in PTEN-null cells, or AKT1 siRNA demonstrated that phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling modulates FAS expression. In contrast, inhibition of FAS activity by the drug C75 resulted in downregulation of phospho-AKT and increased cell death. To explore the functional relationship between phospho-AKT and FAS, we used SKOV3, C200, and OVCAR10 ovarian carcinoma cells, which have constitutively active AKT, and OVCAR5 cells, which have very low basal phospho-AKT levels. Treatment with LY294002 abolished AKT activity and potentiated apoptosis induced by FAS inhibitors cerulenin or C75 only in cells with constitutively active AKT, suggesting that constitutive activation of AKT protects against FAS inhibitor-induced cell death. Furthermore, inhibition of FAS activity by cerulenin or C75 resulted in downregulation of phospho-AKT, which preceded the induction of apoptosis. To investigate the relationship between phospho-AKT and FAS in vivo, severe combined immunodeficient mice injected intraperitoneally with SKOV3 cells were treated with C75. Growth of SKOV3 xenografts was markedly inhibited by C75. Analysis of the levels of phospho-AKT and FAS in C75-treated tumors revealed concordant downregulation of phospho-AKT and FAS. Collectively, our findings are consistent with a working model in which AKT activation regulates FAS expression, at least in part, whereas FAS activity modulates AKT activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 4-Butyrolactone / analogs & derivatives*
  • 4-Butyrolactone / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / biosynthesis*
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / drug effects
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / drug effects
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / drug effects
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics


  • 4-methylene-2-octyl-5-oxofuran-3-carboxylic acid
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Fatty Acid Synthases
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human
  • 4-Butyrolactone