PTEN negatively regulates MAPK signaling during Caenorhabditis elegans vulval development

PLoS Genet. 2012;8(8):e1002881. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002881. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Abstract

Vulval development in Caenorhabditis elegans serves as an excellent model to examine the crosstalk between different conserved signaling pathways that are deregulated in human cancer. The concerted action of the RAS/MAPK, NOTCH, and WNT pathways determines an invariant pattern of cell fates in three vulval precursor cells. We have discovered a novel form of crosstalk between components of the Insulin and the RAS/MAPK pathways. The insulin receptor DAF-2 stimulates, while DAF-18 PTEN inhibits, RAS/MAPK signaling in the vulval precursor cells. Surprisingly, the inhibitory activity of DAF-18 PTEN on the RAS/MAPK pathway is partially independent of its PIP(3) lipid phosphatase activity and does not involve further downstream components of the insulin pathway, such as AKT and DAF-16 FOXO. Genetic and biochemical analyses indicate that DAF-18 negatively regulates vulval induction by inhibiting MAPK activation. Thus, mutations in the PTEN tumor suppressor gene may result in the simultaneous hyper-activation of two oncogenic signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / genetics*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / metabolism
  • Receptor, Insulin / genetics
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch / genetics
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Vulva / cytology
  • Vulva / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism

Substances

  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DAF-18 protein, C elegans
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Wnt Proteins
  • DAF-2 protein, C elegans
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)

Grant support

This work was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation to AH. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.