Comprehensive identification of PIP3-regulated PH domains from C. elegans to H. sapiens by model prediction and live imaging

Mol Cell. 2008 May 9;30(3):381-92. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.04.008.


Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and its product phosphatidylinositol(3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) control cell growth, migration, and other processes by recruiting proteins with pleckstrin homology (PH) domains and possibly other domains to the plasma membrane (PM). However, previous experimental and structural work with PH domains left conflicting evidence about which ones are PIP3 regulated. Here we used live-cell confocal imaging of 130 YFP-conjugated mouse PH domains and found that 20% translocated to the PM in response to receptor-generated PIP3 production. We developed a recursive-learning algorithm to predict PIP3 regulation of 1200 PH domains from different eukaryotes and validated that it accurately predicts PIP3 regulation. Strikingly, this algorithm showed that PIP3 regulation is specified by amino acids across the PH domain, not just the PIP3-binding pocket, and must have evolved several times independently from PIP3-insensitive ancestral PH domains. Finally, our algorithm and live-cell experiments provide a functional survey of PH domains in different species, showing that PI3K regulation increased from approximately two C. elegans and four Drosophila to 40 vertebrate proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / chemistry
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate
  • Phosphatidylinositol Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / classification
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate
  • Phosphatidylinositol Phosphates
  • Proteome
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases