Differential roles for the p101 and p84 regulatory subunits of PI3Kγ in tumor growth and metastasis

Oncogene. 2012 May 3;31(18):2350-61. doi: 10.1038/onc.2011.414. Epub 2011 Sep 26.


Phosphoinositide 3-kinase γ (PI3Kγ) consists of a catalytic subunit p110γ, which forms mutually exclusive dimers with one of the regulatory subunits called p101 and p84/p87(PIKAP). Recently, PI3Kγ emerged as being a potential oncogene because overexpression of the catalytic subunit p110γ or the regulatory subunit p101 leads to oncogenic cellular transformation and malignancy. However, the contribution of the individual subunits to tumor growth and metastasis and the mechanisms involved are not understood. We therefore individually knocked down the PI3Kγ subunits (p84, p101 and p110γ) in MDA-MB-231 cells, which reduced in vitro migration of the cell lines. Knockdown of p110γ or p101 inhibited apoptosis, Akt phosphorylation and lung colonization in SCID mice. Similarly, the knockdown of p110γ and p101 in murine epithelial carcinoma 4T1.2 cells inhibited primary tumor growth and spontaneous metastasis, as well as lung colonization. In contrast, knockdown of p84 in MDA-MB-231 cells enhanced Akt phosphorylation and lung colonization. These findings are the first to implicate differential functions of the two PI3Kγ regulatory subunits in the process of oncogenesis, and indicate that loss of p101 is sufficient to reduce in vivo tumor growth and metastasis to the same extent as that of p110γ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Catalytic Domain / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Class Ib Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neoplasm Transplantation


  • Class Ib Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase