PI3K-mediated PDGFRα signaling regulates survival and proliferation in skeletal development through p53-dependent intracellular pathways

Genes Dev. 2014 May 1;28(9):1005-17. doi: 10.1101/gad.238709.114.


Previous studies have identified phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) as the main downstream effector of PDGFRα signaling during murine skeletal development. Autophosphorylation mutant knock-in embryos in which PDGFRα is unable to bind PI3K (Pdgfra(PI3K/PI3K)) exhibit skeletal defects affecting the palatal shelves, shoulder girdle, vertebrae, and sternum. To identify proteins phosphorylated by Akt downstream from PI3K-mediated PDGFRα signaling, we immunoprecipitated Akt phosphorylation substrates from PDGF-AA-treated primary mouse embryonic palatal mesenchyme (MEPM) lysates and analyzed the peptides by nanoliquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (nano-LC-MS/MS). Our analysis generated a list of 56 proteins, including 10 that regulate cell survival and proliferation. We demonstrate that MEPM cell survival is impaired in the presence of a PI3K inhibitor and that Pdgfra(PI3K/PI3K)-derived MEPMs do not proliferate in response to PDGF-AA treatment. Several of the identified Akt phosphorylation targets, including Ybox1, mediate cell survival through regulation of p53. We show that Ybox1 binds both the Trp53 promoter and the p53 protein and that expression of Trp53 is significantly decreased upon PDGF-AA treatment in MEPMs. Finally, we demonstrate that introduction of a Trp53-null allele attenuates the vertebral defects found in Pdgfra(PI3K/PI3K) neonates. Our findings identify p53 as a novel effector downstream from PI3K-engaged PDGFRα signaling that regulates survival and proliferation during skeletal development in vivo.

Keywords: PDGFRα; PI3K; p53; proliferation; skeleton; survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt