The c-kit-encoded receptor protein tyrosine kinase for stem cell factor (Kit/SCF-R) is essential for the development of cells within the hematopoietic, melanogenic and gametogenic lineages. SCF stimulation induces activation of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase, which is required for SCF-induced mitogenesis and cell survival, and for activation of the serine/threonine, we found that, in response to SCF Akt became activated and mediated phosphorylation of Bad, a pro-apoptotic molecule, in a PI-3-kinase-dependent manner. Phosphorylation of Bad was restricted to Ser112 and Ser136 in vivo, but only the Akt phosphorylation sit Ser136 was essential for SCF-promoted cell survival. Furthermore, Bad and Akt interacted and colocalized in intact cells. A Kit/SCF-R gain-of-function mutant that has increased mitogenic and PI 3-kinase activation potential, due to the absence of the two protein kinase C negative feedback phosphorylation site, enhanced both Akt activation and Bad phosphorylation and also resulted in increased cell survival. Such a mechanism may account for how deregulated PI 3-kinase activity and naturally occurring gain-of-function point mutants of Kit/SCF-R lead to cellular transformation and fatal malignancies in man.