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Targeting of the Akt/PKB kinase to the actin skeleton


Serine/threonine kinase Akt/PKB intracellular distribution undergoes rapid changes in response to agonists such as Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) or Insulin-like growth factor (IGF). The concept has recently emerged that Akt subcellular movements are facilitated by interaction with nonsubstrate ligands. Here we show that Akt is bound to the actin skeleton in in situ cytoskeletal matrix preparations from PDGF-treated Saos2 cells, suggesting an interaction between the two proteins. Indeed, by immunoprecipitation and subcellular fractioning, we demonstrate that endogenous Akt and actin physically interact. Using recombinant proteins in in vitro binding and overlay assays, we further demonstrate that Akt interacts with actin directly. Expression of Akt mutants strongly indicates that the N-terminal PH domain of Akt mediates this interaction. More important, we show that the partition between actin bound and unbound Akt is not constant, but is modulated by growth factor stimulation. In fact, PDGF treatment of serum-starved cells triggers an increase in the amount of Akt associated with the actin skeleton, concomitant with an increase in Akt phosphorylation. Conversely, expression of an Akt mutant in which both Ser473 and Thr308 have been mutated to alanine completely abrogates PDGF-induced binding. The small GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42 seem to facilitate actin binding, possibly increasing Akt phosphorylation.

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Correspondence to S. Marmiroli.

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Received 10 September 2003; accepted 25 September 2003

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Cenni, V., Sirri, A., Riccio, M. et al. Targeting of the Akt/PKB kinase to the actin skeleton. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 60, 2710–2720 (2003).

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  • Akt
  • cytoskeleton
  • PDGF
  • Rac
  • Cdc42
  • GFP-actin