LKB1; linking cell structure and tumor suppression

Oncogene. 2008 Nov 24;27(55):6908-19. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.342.


Germ line mutations in the LKB1 tumor suppressor gene are associated with the Peutz-Jeghers polyposis and cancer syndrome. Somatic mutations in Lkb1 are observed in sporadic pulmonary, pancreatic and biliary cancers and melanomas. The LKB1 serine-threonine kinase functionally and biochemically links control of cellular structure and energy utilization through activation of the AMPK family of kinases. Lkb1 regulates cell polarity through downstream kinases including AMPKs, MARKs and BRSKs, and nutrient utilization and cellular metabolism through the AMPK-mTOR pathway. LKB1 has been shown to affect normal chromosomal segregation, TGF-beta signaling in the mesenchyme and WNT and p53 activity. Although each of the LKB1-dependent processes and downstream pathways have been individually delineated through work across a range of experimental systems, how they relate to Lkb1's role as a tumor suppressor remains to be fully explored and elucidated. The recent development of mouse cancer models harboring engineered mutations in Lkb1 have offered insights into how LKB1 may be functioning to restrain tumorigenesis and how its role as a master regulator of polarity and metabolism could contribute to its tumor suppressor function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / genetics
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cellular Structures / physiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome / complications
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome / etiology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • STK11 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases