The role of PAK-1 in activation of MAP kinase cascade and oncogenic transformation by Akt

Oncogene. 2009 Jun 25;28(25):2365-9. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.114. Epub 2009 May 4.


The activity of protein kinase B, also known as Akt, is commonly elevated in human malignancies and plays a crucial role in oncogenic transformation. The relationship between Akt and the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade, which is also frequently associated with oncogenesis, remains controversial. We report here examples of cooperation between Akt and cRaf in oncogenic transformation, which was accompanied by elevated activity of extracellular signal-regulated mitogen-activated protein kinases. The effect of Akt on extracellular signal-regulated kinases depended on the status of p21-activated kinase (PAK). Importantly, disruption of the function of PAK not only uncoupled the activation of Akt from that of extracellular signal-regulated kinases, but also greatly reduced the capacity of Akt to act as a transforming oncogene. For the malignancies with hyperactive Akt, our observations support the role for PAK-1 as a potential target for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology*
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf / metabolism
  • p21-Activated Kinases / physiology*


  • Luciferases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf
  • p21-Activated Kinases
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases