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PNAS 98 (23): 12908-12913

Copyright © 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences.


Activation of the Akt-related cytokine-independent survival kinase requires interaction of its phox domain with endosomal phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate

Joseph V. Virbasius, Xi Song, Darcy P. Pomerleau, Yong Zhan, G. Wayne Zhou, and Michael P. Czech*

Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 373 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605

Received for publication July 11, 2001.

Abstract: Protein kinases of the Akt and related serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase (SGK) families are major downstream mediators of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase signaling to many cellular processes including metabolic flux, membrane trafficking, and apoptosis. Activation of these kinases is thought to occur at the plasma membrane through their serine and threonine phosphorylation by the phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) protein kinase, which interacts with membrane 3'-polyphosphoinositides through its pleckstrin homology (PH) domain. Here, we demonstrate that the SGK family member cytokine-independent survival kinase (CISK) binds strongly and selectively to the monophosphoinositide PI(3)P through its phox homology (PX) domain. Comparing native green fluorescent protein-CISK (EGFP-CISK) to a mutant EGFP-CISK (Y51A) that displays attenuated binding to PI(3)P reveals that this interaction is both necessary and sufficient for its localization to early endosome antigen (EEA1)-positive endosomes. Furthermore, early endosome association of expressed epitope-tagged CISK in COS cells directed by binding of its PX domain to PI(3)P is required for activation of the CISK protein kinase by both insulin-like growth factor-1 and epidermal growth factor. Taken together, these results reveal a critical role of endosomal PI(3)P in the signal transmission mechanism whereby this survival kinase is activated in response to PI3-kinase stimulation by growth factors.

* To whom reprint requests should be addressed. E-mail: michael.czech{at}

Edited by Jack E. Dixon, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, and approved August 31, 2001

This paper was submitted directly (Track II) to the PNAS office.

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