Insights into the oncogenic effects of PIK3CA mutations from the structure of p110alpha/p85alpha

Cell Cycle. 2008 May 1;7(9):1151-6. doi: 10.4161/cc.7.9.5817. Epub 2008 Feb 27.


Phosphatidylinositide-3-kinases (PI3K) initiate a number of signaling pathways by recruiting other kinases, such as Akt, to the plasma membrane. One of the isoforms, PI3Kalpha, is an oncogene frequently mutated in several cancer types. These mutations increase PI3K kinase activity, leading to increased cell survival, cell motility, cell metabolism, and cell cycle progression. The structure of the complex between the catalytic subunit of PI3Kalpha, p110alpha, and a portion of its regulatory subunit, p85alpha reveals that the majority of the oncogenic mutations occur at the interfaces between p110 domains and between p110 and p85 domains. At these positions, mutations disrupt interactions resulting in changes in the kinase domain that may increase enzymatic activity. The structure also suggests that interaction with the membrane is mediated by one of the p85 domains (iSH2). These findings may provide novel structural loci for the design of new anti-cancer drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalytic Domain / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Dimerization
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / chemistry*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • PIK3CA protein, human