PI3K functions as a hub in mechanotransduction

Trends Biochem Sci. 2021 Nov;46(11):878-888. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2021.05.005. Epub 2021 Jun 7.


Mammalian cells integrate different types of stimuli that govern their fate. These stimuli encompass biochemical as well as biomechanical cues (shear, tensile, and compressive stresses) that are usually studied separately. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) enzymes, producing signaling phosphoinositides at plasma and intracellular membranes, are key in intracellular signaling and vesicular trafficking pathways. Recent evidence in cancer research demonstrates that these enzymes are essential in mechanotransduction. Despite this, the importance of the integration of biomechanical cues and PI3K-driven biochemical signals is underestimated. In this opinion article, we make the hypothesis that modeling of biomechanical cues is critical to understand PI3K oncogenicity. We also identify known/missing knowledge in terms of isoform specificity and molecular pathways of activation, knowledge that is needed for clinical applications.

Keywords: PI3K; cell signaling; compression; mechanotransduction; shear stress; tension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mammals
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular* / physiology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase* / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase