PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10) is a tumor suppressor that can inhibit proliferation and migration and controls apoptosis in a number of cell types, mainly through inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway. Patients carrying inactivating mutations of PTEN show a prevalence to develop tumors that can coincide with neurological defects such as mental retardation, ataxia and seizures. A number of in vitro and in vivo studies were instrumental in uncovering a direct correlation between deregulated PI3K/PTEN signaling and changes in neuronal morphogenesis, which is likely to have profound bearings upon the pathogenesis of neurological symptoms. This review outlines recent work on the function of PTEN during vertebrate brain development and the current understanding of the signaling pathways downstream of PTEN that control neuronal connectivity in the brain.
(c) 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.