Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Publications len-stephens

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Class (I) Phosphoinositide 3-Kinases in the Tumor Microenvironment.
Gyori D, Chessa T, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR

Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are a diverse family of enzymes which regulate various critical biological processes, such as cell proliferation and survival. Class (I) PI3Ks (PI3Kα, PI3Kβ, PI3Kγ and PI3Kδ) mediate the phosphorylation of the inositol ring at position D3 leading to the generation of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3. PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 can be dephosphorylated by several phosphatases, of which the best known is the 3-phosphatase PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog). The Class (I) PI3K pathway is frequently disrupted in human cancers where mutations are associated with increased PI3K-activity or loss of PTEN functionality within the tumor cells. However, the role of PI3Ks in the tumor stroma is less well understood. Recent evidence suggests that the white blood cell-selective PI3Kγ and PI3Kδ isoforms have an important role in regulating the immune-suppressive, tumor-associated myeloid cell and regulatory T cell subsets, respectively, and as a consequence are also critical for solid tumor growth. Moreover, PI3Kα is implicated in the direct regulation of tumor angiogenesis, and dysregulation of the PI3K pathway in stromal fibroblasts can also contribute to cancer progression. Therefore, pharmacological inhibition of the Class (I) PI3K family in the tumor microenvironment can be a highly attractive anti-cancer strategy and isoform-selective PI3K inhibitors may act as potent cancer immunotherapeutic and anti-angiogenic agents.

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Cancers, 9, , , 2017

PMID: 28273837

Open Access

In B cells, phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate 4-kinase-α synthesizes PI(4,5)P2 to impact mTORC2 and Akt signaling.
Bulley SJ, Droubi A, Clarke JH, Anderson KE, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT, Irvine RF

Phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate 4-kinases (PI5P4Ks) are enigmatic lipid kinases with physiological functions that are incompletely understood, not the least because genetic deletion and cell transfection have led to contradictory data. Here, we used the genetic tractability of DT40 cells to create cell lines in which endogenous PI5P4Kα was removed, either stably by genetic deletion or transiently (within 1 h) by tagging the endogenous protein genomically with the auxin degron. In both cases, removal impacted Akt phosphorylation, and by leaving one PI5P4Kα allele present but mutating it to be kinase-dead or have PI4P 5-kinase activity, we show that all of the effects on Akt phosphorylation were dependent on the ability of PI5P4Kα to synthesize phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2] rather than to remove PI5P. Although stable removal of PI5P4Kα resulted in a pronounced decrease in Akt phosphorylation at Thr308 and Ser473, in part because of reduced plasma membrane PIP3, its acute removal led to an increase in Akt phosphorylation only at Ser473. This process invokes activation primarily of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2), which was confirmed by increased phosphorylation of other mTORC2 substrates. These findings establish PI5P4Kα as a kinase that synthesizes a physiologically relevant pool of PI(4,5)P2 and as a regulator of mTORC2, and show a phenomenon similar to the "butterfly effect" described for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase Iα [Hart JR, et al. (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(4):1131-1136], whereby through apparently the same underlying mechanism, the removal of a protein's activity from a cell can have widely divergent effects depending on the time course of that removal.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, , 1091-6490, , 2016

PMID: 27601656

Open Access

Phosphoproteomic Analyses of Interleukin 2 Signaling Reveal Integrated JAK Kinase-Dependent and -Independent Networks in CD8(+) T Cells.
Ross SH, Rollings C, Anderson KE, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR, Cantrell DA

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a fundamental cytokine that controls proliferation and differentiation of T cells. Here, we used high-resolution mass spectrometry to generate a comprehensive and detailed map of IL-2 protein phosphorylations in cytotoxic T cells (CTL). The data revealed that Janus kinases (JAKs) couple IL-2 receptors to the coordinated phosphorylation of transcription factors, regulators of chromatin, mRNA translation, GTPases, vesicle trafficking, and the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton. We identified an IL-2-JAK-independent SRC family Tyr-kinase-controlled signaling network that regulates ∼10% of the CTL phosphoproteome, the production of phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3), and the activity of the serine/threonine kinase AKT. These data reveal a signaling framework wherein IL-2-JAK-controlled pathways coordinate with IL-2-independent networks of kinase activity and provide a resource toward the further understanding of the networks of protein phosphorylation that program CTL fate.

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Immunity, , 1097-4180, , 2016

PMID: 27566939

Open Access

Coincident signals from GPCRs and receptor tyrosine kinases are uniquely transduced by PI3Kβ in myeloid cells.
Houslay DM, Anderson KE, Chessa T, Kulkarni S, Fritsch R, Downward J, Backer JM, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT

Class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) catalyze production of the lipid messenger phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3), which plays a central role in a complex signaling network regulating cell growth, survival, and movement. This network is overactivated in cancer and inflammation, and there is interest in determining the PI3K catalytic subunit (p110α, p110β, p110γ, or p110δ) that should be targeted in different therapeutic contexts. Previous studies have defined unique regulatory inputs for p110β, including direct interaction with Gβγ subunits, Rac, and Rab5. We generated mice with knock-in mutations of p110β that selectively blocked the interaction with Gβγ and investigated its contribution to the PI3K isoform dependency of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) and G protein (heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein)-coupled receptor (GPCR) responses in primary macrophages and neutrophils. We discovered a unique role for p110β in supporting synergistic PIP3 formation in response to the coactivation of macrophages by macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and the complement protein C5a. In contrast, we found partially redundant roles for p110α, p110β, and p110δ downstream of M-CSF alone and a nonredundant role for p110γ downstream of C5a alone. This role for p110β completely depended on direct interaction with Gβγ, suggesting that p110β transduces GPCR signals in the context of coincident activation by an RTK. The p110β-Gβγ interaction was also required for neutrophils to generate reactive oxygen species in response to the Fcγ receptor-dependent recognition of immune complexes and for their β2 integrin-mediated adhesion to fibrinogen or poly-RGD+, directly implicating heterotrimeric G proteins in these two responses.

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Science signaling, 9, 1937-9145, ra82, 2016

PMID: 27531651

Open Access

The inositol-3-phosphate synthase biosynthetic enzyme has distinct catalytic and metabolic roles.
Frej AD, Clark J, Roy CL, Lilla S, Thomason P, Otto GP, Churchill G, Insall R, Claus SP, Hawkins P, Stephens L, Williams RS

Inositol levels, maintained by the biosynthetic enzyme inositol-3-phosphate synthase (Ino1), are altered in a range of disorders including bipolar disorder and Alzheimer's disease. To date, most inositol studies have focused on the molecular and cellular effects of inositol depletion without considering Ino1 levels. Here we employ a simple eukaryote, Dictyostelium, to demonstrate distinct effects of loss of Ino1 and inositol depletion. We show that loss of Ino1 results in inositol auxotrophy that can only be partially rescued by exogenous inositol. Removal of inositol supplementation from the ino1(-) mutant results in a rapid 56% reduction in inositol levels, triggering the induction of autophagy, reduced cytokinesis and substrate adhesion. Inositol depletion also caused a dramatic generalised decrease in phosphoinositide levels that was rescued by inositol supplementation. However, loss of Ino1 triggered broad metabolic changes consistent with the induction of a catabolic state that was not rescued by inositol supplementation. These data suggest a metabolic role for Ino1 independent of inositol biosynthesis. To characterise this role, an Ino1 binding partner containing SEL1L1 domains (Q54IX5) was identified with homology to mammalian macromolecular complex adaptor proteins. Our findings therefore identify a new role for Ino1, independent of inositol biosynthesis, with broad effects on cell metabolism.

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Molecular and cellular biology, , 1098-5549, , 2016

PMID: 26951199

Open Access

Emerging evidence of signalling roles for PI(3,4)P2 in Class I and II PI3K-regulated pathways.
Hawkins PT, Stephens LR

There are eight members of the phosphoinositide family of phospholipids in eukaryotes; PI, PI3P, PI4P, PI5P, PI(4,5)P2, PI(3,4)P2, PI(3,5)P2 and PI(3,4,5)P3. Receptor activation of Class I PI3Ks stimulates the phosphorylation of PI(4,5)P2 to form PI(3,4,5)P3. PI(3,4,5)P3 is an important messenger molecule that is part of a complex signalling network controlling cell growth and division. PI(3,4,5)P3 can be dephosphorylated by both 3- and 5-phosphatases, producing PI(4,5)P2 and PI(3,4)P2, respectively. There is now strong evidence that PI(3,4)P2 generated by this route does not merely represent another pathway for removal of PI(3,4,5)P3, but can act as a signalling molecule in its own right, regulating macropinocytosis, fast endophilin-mediated endocytosis (FEME), membrane ruffling, lamellipodia and invadopodia. PI(3,4)P2 can also be synthesized directly from PI4P by Class II PI3Ks and this is important for the maturation of clathrin-coated pits [clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME)] and signalling in early endosomes. Thus PI(3,4)P2 is emerging as an important signalling molecule involved in the coordination of several specific membrane and cytoskeletal responses. Further, its inappropriate accumulation contributes to pathology caused by mutations in genes encoding enzymes responsible for its degradation, e.g. Inpp4B.

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Biochemical Society transactions, 44, 1470-8752, 307-14, 2016

PMID: 26862220

Inactivation of the Class II PI3K-C2β Potentiates Insulin Signaling and Sensitivity.
Alliouachene S, Bilanges B, Chicanne G, Anderson KE, Pearce W, Ali K, Valet C, Posor Y, Low PC, Chaussade C, Scudamore CL, Salamon RS, Backer JM, Stephens L, Hawkins PT, Payrastre B, Vanhaesebroeck B

In contrast to the class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks), the organismal roles of the kinase activity of the class II PI3Ks are less clear. Here, we report that class II PI3K-C2β kinase-dead mice are viable and healthy but display an unanticipated enhanced insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, as well as protection against high-fat-diet-induced liver steatosis. Despite having a broad tissue distribution, systemic PI3K-C2β inhibition selectively enhances insulin signaling only in metabolic tissues. In a primary hepatocyte model, basal PI3P lipid levels are reduced by 60% upon PI3K-C2β inhibition. This results in an expansion of the very early APPL1-positive endosomal compartment and altered insulin receptor trafficking, correlating with an amplification of insulin-induced, class I PI3K-dependent Akt signaling, without impacting MAPK activity. These data reveal PI3K-C2β as a critical regulator of endosomal trafficking, specifically in insulin signaling, and identify PI3K-C2β as a potential drug target for insulin sensitization.

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Cell reports, 13, 2211-1247, 1881-94, 2015

PMID: 26655903

Open Access

Investigating the effect of arachidonate supplementation on the phosphoinositide content of MCF10a breast epithelial cells.
Anderson KE, Juvin V, Clark J, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT

Phosphoinositides in primary mammalian tissue are highly enriched in a stearoyl/arachidonyl (C38:4) diacylgycerol backbone. However, mammalian cells grown in culture typically contain more diverse molecular species of phosphoinositides, characterised by a reduction in arachidonyl content in the sn-2 position. We have analysed the phosphoinositide species in MCF10a cells grown in culture by mass spectrometry. Under either serum or serum starved conditions the most abundant species of PI, PIP, PIP2 and PIP3 had masses which corresponded to C36:2, C38:4, C38:3, C38:2 and C36:1 diacylglycerol backbones and the relative proportions of each molecular species were broadly similar between each phosphoinositide class (approx. 50%, 25%, 10%, 10% and 10% respectively, for the species listed above). Supplementing the culture medium with BSA-loaded arachidonic acid promoted a rapid increase in the proportion of the C38:4 species in all phosphoinositide classes (from approx. 25%-60% of total species within 24 h), but the total amount of all combined species for each class remained remarkably constant. Stimulation of cells, cultured in either normal or arachidonate-enriched conditions, with 2 ng/ml EGF for 90 s caused substantial activation of Class I PI3K and accumulation of PIP3. Despite the increased proportion of C38:4 PIP3 under the arachidonate-supplemented conditions, the total amount of all combined PIP3 species accumulating in response to EGF was the same, with or without arachidonate supplementation; there were however small but significant preferences for the conversion of some PIP2 species to PIP3, with the polyunsaturated C38:4 and C38:3 species being more favoured over other species. These results suggest the enzymes which interconvert phosphoinositides are able to act on several different molecular species and homoeostatic mechanisms are in place to deliver similar phosphoinositide pool sizes under quite different conditions of arachidonate availability. They also suggest enzymes regulating PIP3 levels downstream of growth factor stimulation (i.e. PI3Ks and PIP3-phosphatases) show some acyl selectivity and further work should be directed at assessing whether different acyl species of PIP3 exhibit differing signalling potential.

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Advances in biological regulation, , 2212-4934, , 2015

PMID: 26639089

Open Access

Localizing the lipid products of PI3Kγ in neutrophils.
Norton L, Lindsay Y, Deladeriere A, Chessa T, Guillou H, Suire S, Lucocq J, Walker S, Andrews S, Segonds-Pichon A, Rausch O, Finan P, Sasaki T, Du CJ, Bretschneider T, Ferguson GJ, Hawkins PT, Stephens L

Class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are important regulators of neutrophil migration in response to a range of chemoattractants. Their primary lipid products PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 and PtdIns(3,4)P2 preferentially accumulate near to the leading edge of migrating cells and are thought to act as an important cue organizing molecular and morphological polarization. We have investigated the distribution and accumulation of these lipids independently in mouse neutrophils using eGFP-PH reportersand electron microscopy (EM). We found that authentic mouse neutrophils rapidly polarized their Class I PI3K signalling, as read-out by eGFP-PH reporters, both at the up-gradient leading edge in response to local stimulation with fMLP as well as spontaneously and randomly in response to uniform stimulation. EM studies revealed these events occurred at the plasma membrane, were dominated by accumulation of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3, but not PtdIns(3,4)P2, and were dependent on PI3Kγ and its upstream activation by both Ras and Gβγs.

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Advances in biological regulation, , 2212-4934, , 2015

PMID: 26596865

Open Access

The cytotoxic T cell proteome and its shaping by the kinase mTOR.
Hukelmann JL, Anderson KE, Sinclair LV, Grzes KM, Murillo AB, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR, Lamond AI, Cantrell DA

We used high-resolution mass spectrometry to map the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) proteome and the effect of the metabolic checkpoint kinase mTORC1 on CTLs. The CTL proteome was dominated by metabolic regulators and granzymes, and mTORC1 selectively repressed and promoted expression of a subset of CTL proteins (~10%). These included key CTL effector molecules, signaling proteins and a subset of metabolic enzymes. Proteomic data highlighted the potential for negative control of the production of phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PtdIns(3,4,5)P3) by mTORC1 in CTLs. mTORC1 repressed PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 production and determined the requirement for mTORC2 in activation of the kinase Akt. Our unbiased proteomic analysis thus provides comprehensive understanding of CTL identity and the control of CTL function by mTORC1.

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Nature immunology, , 1529-2916, , 2015

PMID: 26551880

Open Access

Perturbations of PIP3 signalling trigger a global remodelling of mRNA landscape and reveal a transcriptional feedback loop.
Kiselev VY, Juvin V, Malek M, Luscombe N, Hawkins P, Novère NL, Stephens L

PIP3 is synthesized by the Class I PI3Ks and regulates complex cell responses, such as growth and migration. Signals that drive long-term reshaping of cell phenotypes are difficult to resolve because of complex feedback networks that operate over extended times. PIP3-dependent modulation of mRNA accumulation is clearly important in this process but is poorly understood. We have quantified the genome-wide mRNA-landscape of non-transformed, breast epithelium-derived MCF10a cells and its response to acute regulation by EGF, in the presence or absence of a PI3Kα inhibitor, compare it to chronic activation of PI3K signalling by cancer-relevant mutations (isogenic cells expressing an oncomutant PI3Kα allele or lacking the PIP3-phosphatase/tumour-suppressor, PTEN). Our results show that whilst many mRNAs are changed by long-term genetic perturbation of PIP3 signalling ('butterfly effect'), a much smaller number do so in a coherent fashion with the different PIP3 perturbations. This suggests a subset of more directly regulated mRNAs. We show that mRNAs respond differently to given aspects of PIP3 regulation. Some PIP3-sensitive mRNAs encode PI3K pathway components, thus suggesting a transcriptional feedback loop. We identify the transcription factor binding motifs SRF and PRDM1 as important regulators of PIP3-sensitive mRNAs involved in cell movement.

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Nucleic acids research, , 1362-4962, , 2015

PMID: 26464442

Open Access

The regulatory subunits of PI3Kγ control distinct neutrophil responses.
Deladeriere A, Gambardella L, Pan D, Anderson KE, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR

Neutrophils, which migrate toward inflamed sites and kill pathogens by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS), are important in the defense against bacterial and fungal pathogens, but their inappropriate regulation causes various chronic inflammatory diseases. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase γ (PI3Kγ) functions downstream of proinflammatory G protein (heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein)-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in neutrophils and is a therapeutic target. In neutrophils, PI3Kγ consists of a p110γ catalytic subunit, which is activated by the guanosine triphosphatase Ras, and either a p84 or p101 regulatory subunit. Loss or inhibition of p110γ or expression of a Ras-insensitive variant p110γ (p110γ(DASAA/DASAA)) impairs PIP3 production, Akt phosphorylation, migration, and ROS formation in response to GPCR activation. The p101 subunit binds to, and mediates PI3Kγ activation by, G protein βγ subunits, and p101(-/-) neutrophils have a similar phenotype to that of p110γ(-/-) neutrophils, except that ROS responses are normal. We found that p84(-/-) neutrophils displayed reduced GPCR-stimulated PIP3 and Akt signaling, which was indistinguishable from that of p101(-/-) neutrophils. However, p84(-/-) neutrophils produced less ROS and exhibited normal migration in response to GPCR stimulation. These data suggest that p84-containing PI3Kγ controls GPCR-dependent ROS production. Thus, the PI3Kγ regulatory subunits enable PI3Kγ to mediate distinct neutrophil responses, which may occur by targeting PIP3 signaling into spatially distinct domains.

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Science signaling, 8, 1937-9145, ra8, 2015

PMID: 25605974

Open Access

PI3K signalling in inflammation.
Hawkins PT, Stephens LR

PI3Ks regulate several key events in the inflammatory response to damage and infection. There are four Class I PI3K isoforms (PI3Kα,β,γ,δ), three Class II PI3K isoforms (PI3KC2α, C2β, C2γ) and a single Class III PI3K. The four Class I isoforms synthesise the phospholipid 'PIP3'. PIP3 is a 'second messenger' used by many different cell surface receptors to control cell movement, growth, survival and differentiation. These four isoforms have overlapping functions but each is adapted to receive efficient stimulation by particular receptor sub-types. PI3Kγ is highly expressed in leukocytes and plays a particularly important role in chemokine-mediated recruitment and activation of innate immune cells at sites of inflammation. PI3Kδ is also highly expressed in leukocytes and plays a key role in antigen receptor and cytokine-mediated B and T cell development, differentiation and function. Class III PI3K synthesises the phospholipid PI3P, which regulates endosome-lysosome trafficking and the induction of autophagy, pathways involved in pathogen killing, antigen processing and immune cell survival. Much less is known about the function of Class II PI3Ks, but emerging evidence indicates they can synthesise PI3P and PI34P2 and are involved in the regulation of endocytosis. The creation of genetically-modified mice with altered PI3K signalling, together with the development of isoform-selective, small-molecule PI3K inhibitors, has allowed the evaluation of the individual roles of Class I PI3K isoforms in several mouse models of chronic inflammation. Selective inhibition of PI3Kδ, γ or β has each been shown to reduce the severity of inflammation in one or more models of autoimmune disease, respiratory disease or allergic inflammation, with dual γ/δ or β/δ inhibition generally proving more effective. The inhibition of Class I PI3Ks may therefore offer a therapeutic opportunity to treat non-resolving inflammatory pathologies in humans. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Phosphoinositides.

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Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1851, 0006-3002, 882-97, 2015

PMID: 25514767

Open Access

Dictyostelium uses ether-linked inositol phospholipids for intracellular signalling.
Clark J,Kay RR,Kielkowska A,Niewczas I,Fets L,Oxley D,Stephens LR,Hawkins PT

Inositol phospholipids are critical regulators of membrane biology throughout eukaryotes. The general principle by which they perform these roles is conserved across species and involves binding of differentially phosphorylated inositol head groups to specific protein domains. This interaction serves to both recruit and regulate the activity of several different classes of protein which act on membrane surfaces. In mammalian cells, these phosphorylated inositol head groups are predominantly borne by a C38:4 diacylglycerol backbone. We show here that the inositol phospholipids of Dictyostelium are different, being highly enriched in an unusual C34:1e lipid backbone, 1-hexadecyl-2-(11Z-octadecenoyl)-sn-glycero-3-phospho-(1'-myo-inositol), in which the sn-1 position contains an ether-linked C16:0 chain; they are thus plasmanylinositols. These plasmanylinositols respond acutely to stimulation of cells with chemoattractants, and their levels are regulated by PIPKs, PI3Ks and PTEN. In mammals and now in Dictyostelium, the hydrocarbon chains of inositol phospholipids are a highly selected subset of those available to other phospholipids, suggesting that different molecular selectors are at play in these organisms but serve a common, evolutionarily conserved purpose.

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The EMBO journal, , 1460-2075, , 2014

PMID: 25180230

Open Access

The hexosamine biosynthesis pathway and O-GlcNAcylation maintain insulin-stimulated PI3K-PKB phosphorylation and tumour cell growth after short-term glucose deprivation.
Jones DR, Keune WJ, Anderson KE, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT, Divecha N

Glucose provides an essential nutrient source that supports glycolysis and the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP) to maintain tumour cell growth and survival. Here we investigated if short-term glucose deprivation specifically modulates the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/PKB) cell survival pathway. Insulin-stimulated PKB activation was strongly abrogated in the absence of extracellular glucose as a consequence of the loss of insulin-stimulated PI3K activation and short-term glucose deprivation inhibited subsequent tumour cell growth. Loss of insulin-stimulated PKB signalling and cell growth was rescued by extracellular glucosamine and increased flux through the HBP. Disruption of O-GlcNAc transferase activity, a terminal step in the HBP, implicated O-GlcNAcylation in PKB signalling and cell growth. Glycogenolysis is known to support cell survival during glucose deprivation, and in A549 lung cancer cells its inhibition attenuates PKB activation which is rescued by increased flux through the HBP. Our studies show that rerouting of glycolytic metabolites to the HBP under glucose-restricted conditions maintains PI3K/PKB signalling enabling cell survival and proliferation.

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The FEBS journal, 281, 1742-4658, 3591-608, 2014

PMID: 24938479

Open Access

The phosphoinositide 3-kinase isoform PI3Kβ regulates osteoclast-mediated bone resorption in humans and mice.
Győri D, Csete D, Benkő S, Kulkarni S, Mandl P, Dobó-Nagy C, Vanhaesebroeck B, Stephens L, Hawkins PT, Mócsai A

While phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are involved in various intracellular signal transduction processes, the specific functions of the different PI3K isoforms are poorly understood. We have previously shown that the PI3Kβ isoform is required for arthritis development in the K/BxN serum-transfer model. Since osteoclasts play a critical role in pathologic bone loss during inflammatory arthritis and other diseases, we undertook this study to test the role of PI3Kβ in osteoclast development and function using a combined genetic and pharmacologic approach.

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Arthritis & rheumatology (Hoboken, N.J.), 66, 2326-5205, 2210-21, 2014

PMID: 24719382

Open Access

BMX acts downstream of PI3K to promote colorectal cancer cell survival and pathway inhibition sensitizes to the BH3 mimetic ABT-737.
Potter DS, Kelly P, Denneny O, Juvin V, Stephens LR, Dive C, Morrow CJ

Evasion of apoptosis is a hallmark of cancer, and reversing this process by inhibition of survival signaling pathways is a potential therapeutic strategy. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling can promote cell survival and is upregulated in solid tumor types, including colorectal cancer (CRC), although these effects are context dependent. The role of PI3K in tumorigenesis combined with their amenability to specific inhibition makes them attractive drug targets. However, we observed that inhibition of PI3K in HCT116, DLD-1, and SW620 CRC cells did not induce apoptotic cell death. Moreover, these cells were relatively resistant to the Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH3) mimetic ABT-737, which directly targets the Bcl-2 family of apoptosis regulators. To test the hypothesis that PI3K inhibition lowers the apoptotic threshold without causing apoptosis per se, PI3K inhibitors were combined with ABT-737. PI3K inhibition enhanced ABT-737-induced apoptosis by 2.3- to 4.5-fold and reduced expression levels of MCL-1, the resistance biomarker for ABT-737. PI3K inhibition enhanced ABT-737-induced apoptosis a further 1.4- to 2.4-fold in CRC cells with small interfering RNA-depleted MCL-1, indicative of additional sensitizing mechanisms. The observation that ABT-737-induced apoptosis was unaffected by inhibition of PI3K downstream effectors AKT and mTOR, implicated a novel PI3K-dependant pathway. To elucidate this, an RNA interference (RNAi) screen of potential downstream effectors of PI3K signaling was conducted, which demonstrated that knockdown of the TEC kinase BMX sensitized to ABT-737. This suggests that BMX is an antiapoptotic downstream effector of PI3K, independent of AKT.

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Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.), 16, 1476-5586, 147-57, 2014

PMID: 24709422

Open Access

P-Rex1 directly activates RhoG to regulate GPCR-driven Rac signalling and actin polarity in neutrophils.
G Damoulakis, L Gambardella, KL Rossman, CD Lawson, KE Anderson, Y Fukui, HC Welch, CJ Der, LR Stephens, PT Hawkins

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) regulate the organisation of the actin cytoskeleton by activating the Rac subfamily of small GTPases. The guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF) P-Rex1 is engaged downstream of GPCRs and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) in many cell types, and promotes tumorigenic signalling and metastasis in breast cancer and melanoma, respectively. Although P-Rex1-dependent functions have been attributed to its GEF activity towards Rac1, we show that P-Rex1 also acts as a GEF for the Rac-related GTPase RhoG, both in vitro and in GPCR-stimulated primary mouse neutrophils. Furthermore, loss of either P-Rex1 or RhoG caused equivalent reductions in GPCR-driven Rac activation and Rac-dependent NADPH oxidase activity, suggesting they both function upstream of Rac in this system. Loss of RhoG also impaired GPCR-driven recruitment of the Rac GEF DOCK2, and F-actin, to the leading edge of migrating neutrophils. Taken together, our results reveal a new signalling hierarchy in which P-Rex1, acting as a GEF for RhoG, regulates Rac-dependent functions indirectly through RhoG-dependent recruitment of DOCK2. These findings thus have broad implications for our understanding of GPCR signalling to Rho GTPases and the actin cytoskeleton.

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Journal of cell science, 127, Pt 11, 2589-600, 2014

PMID: 24659802
DOI: 10.1242/jcs.153049

Open Access

Regulation of PTEN inhibition by the pleckstrin homology domain of P-REX2 during insulin signaling and glucose homeostasis.
Hodakoski C, Hopkins BD, Barrows D, Mense SM, Keniry M, Anderson KE, Kern PA, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR, Parsons R

Insulin activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling regulates glucose homeostasis through the production of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3). The dual-specificity phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) blocks PI3K signaling by dephosphorylating PIP3, and is inhibited through its interaction with phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate-dependent Rac exchanger 2 (P-REX2). The mechanism of inhibition and its physiological significance are not known. Here, we report that P-REX2 interacts with PTEN via two interfaces. The pleckstrin homology (PH) domain of P-REX2 inhibits PTEN by interacting with the catalytic region of PTEN, and the inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase domain of P-REX2 provides high-affinity binding to the postsynaptic density-95/Discs large/zona occludens-1-binding domain of PTEN. P-REX2 inhibition of PTEN requires C-terminal phosphorylation of PTEN to release the P-REX2 PH domain from its neighboring diffuse B-cell lymphoma homology domain. Consistent with its function as a PTEN inhibitor, deletion of Prex2 in fibroblasts and mice results in increased Pten activity and decreased insulin signaling in liver and adipose tissue. Prex2 deletion also leads to reduced glucose uptake and insulin resistance. In human adipose tissue, P-REX2 protein expression is decreased and PTEN activity is increased in insulin-resistant human subjects. Taken together, these results indicate a functional role for P-REX2 PH-domain-mediated inhibition of PTEN in regulating insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis and suggest that loss of P-REX2 expression may cause insulin resistance.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 1091-6490, 155-60, 2014

PMID: 24367090

Open Access

Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase δ Gene Mutation Predisposes to Respiratory Infection and Airway Damage.
I Angulo, O Vadas, F Garçon, E Banham-Hall, V Plagnol, TR Leahy, H Baxendale, T Coulter, J Curtis, C Wu, K Blake-Palmer, O Perisic, D Smyth, M Maes, C Fiddler, J Juss, D Cilliers, G Markelj, A Chandra, G Farmer, A Kielkowska, J Clark, S Kracker, M Debré, C Picard, I Pellier, N Jabado, JA Morris, G Barcenas-Morales, A Fischer, L Stephens, P Hawkins, JC Barrett, M Abinun, M Clatworthy, A Durandy, R Doffinger, E Chilvers, AJ Cant, D Kumararatne, K Okkenhaug, RL Williams, A Condliffe, S Nejentsev

Genetic mutations cause primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs), which predispose to infections. Here we describe Activated PI3K-δ Syndrome (APDS), a PID associated with a dominant gain-of-function mutation in which lysine replaced glutamic acid at residue 1021 (E1021K) in the p110δ protein, the catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ (PI3Kδ), encoded by the PIK3CD gene. We found E1021K in 17 patients from seven unrelated families, but not among 3346 healthy subjects. APDS was characterized by recurrent respiratory infections, progressive airway damage, lymphopenia, increased circulating transitional B cells, increased immunoglobulin M and reduced immunoglobulin G2 levels in serum and impaired vaccine responses. The E1021K mutation enhanced membrane association and kinase activity of p110δ. Patient-derived lymphocytes had increased levels of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate and phosphorylated AKT protein and were prone to activation-induced cell death. Selective p110δ inhibitors IC87114 and GS-1101 reduced the activity of the mutant enzyme in vitro, which suggested a therapeutic approach for patients with APDS.

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Science (New York, N.Y.), , , , 2013

PMID: 24136356
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243292

Open Access

Signaling via class IA Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3K) in human, breast-derived cell lines.
Juvin V, Malek M, Anderson KE, Dion C, Chessa T, Lecureuil C, Ferguson GJ, Cosulich S, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR

We have addressed the differential roles of class I Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3K) in human breast-derived MCF10a (and iso-genetic derivatives) and MDA-MB 231 and 468 cells. Class I PI3Ks are heterodimers of p110 catalytic (α, β, δ and γ) and p50-101 regulatory subunits and make the signaling lipid, phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PtdIns(3,4,5)P3) that can activate effectors, eg protein kinase B (PKB), and responses, eg migration. The PtdIns(3,4,5)P3-3-phosphatase and tumour-suppressor, PTEN inhibits this pathway. p110α, but not other p110s, has a number of onco-mutant variants that are commonly found in cancers. mRNA-seq data shows that MCF10a cells express p110β>α>δ with undetectable p110γ. Despite this, EGF-stimulated phosphorylation of PKB depended upon p110α-, but not β- or δ- activity. EGF-stimulated chemokinesis, but not chemotaxis, was also dependent upon p110α, but not β- or δ- activity. In the presence of single, endogenous alleles of onco-mutant p110α (H1047R or E545K), basal, but not EGF-stimulated, phosphorylation of PKB was increased and the effect of EGF was fully reversed by p110α inhibitors. Cells expressing either onco-mutant displayed higher basal motility and EGF-stimulated chemokinesis.This latter effect was, however, only partially-sensitive to PI3K inhibitors. In PTEN(-/-) cells, basal and EGF-stimulated phosphorylation of PKB was substantially increased, but the p110-dependency was variable between cell types. In MDA-MB 468s phosphorylation of PKB was significantly dependent on p110β, but not α- or δ- activity; in PTEN(-/-) MCF10a it remained, like the parental cells, p110α-dependent. Surprisingly, loss of PTEN suppressed basal motility and EGF-stimulated chemokinesis. These results indicate that; p110α is required for EGF signaling to PKB and chemokinesis, but not chemotaxis; onco-mutant alleles of p110α augment signaling in the absence of EGF and may increase motility, in part, via acutely modulating PI3K-activity-independent mechanisms. Finally, we demonstrate that there is not a universal mechanism that up-regulates p110β function in the absence of PTEN.

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PloS one, 8, 1932-6203, e75045, 2013

PMID: 24124465

Open Access

A new approach to measuring phosphoinositides in cells by mass spectrometry.
Kielkowska A, Niewczas I, Anderson KE, Durrant TN, Clark J, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT

The phosphoinositide family of phospholipids, defined here as PtdIns, PtdIns3P, PtdIns4P, PtdIns5P, PtdIns(3,4)P2, PtdIns(3,5)P2, PtdIns(4,5)P2 and PtdIns(3,4,5)P3, play pivotal roles in organising the location and activity of many different proteins acting on biological membranes, including those involved in vesicle and protein trafficking through the endolysosomal system and receptor signal transduction at the plasma membrane. Accurate measurement of the cellular levels of these lipids, particularly the more highly phosphorylated species, is hampered by their high polarity and low cellular concentrations. Recently, much progress has been made in using mass spectrometry to measure many different lipid classes in parallel, an approach generally referred to as 'lipidomics'. Unfortunately, the acidic nature of highly phosphorylated phosphoinositides makes them difficult to measure using these methods, because they yield low levels of useful ions; this is particularly the case with PtdIns(3,4,5)P3. We have solved some of these problems by methylating the phosphate groups of these lipids with TMS-diazomethane and describe a simple, integrated approach to measuring PtdIns, PtdInsP, PtdInsP2 and PtdInsP3 classes of lipids, in parallel with other phospholipid species, in cell and tissue extracts. This methodology is sensitive, accurate and robust, and also yields fatty-acyl compositions, suggesting it can be used to further our understanding of both the normal and pathophysiological roles of these important lipids.

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Advances in biological regulation, 54, 2212-4934, 131-41, 2014

PMID: 24120934

Open Access

3D time series analysis of cell shape using Laplacian approaches.
Du CJ, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR, Bretschneider T

Fundamental cellular processes such as cell movement, division or food uptake critically depend on cells being able to change shape. Fast acquisition of three-dimensional image time series has now become possible, but we lack efficient tools for analysing shape deformations in order to understand the real three-dimensional nature of shape changes.

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BMC bioinformatics, 14, 1471-2105, 296, 2013

PMID: 24090312

Open Access

More paths to PI3Kγ.
L Stephens, P Hawkins

PLoS biology, 11, 6, e1001594, 2013

PMID: 23853549
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001594

Open Access

Two distinct functions for PI3-kinases in macropinocytosis.
O Hoeller, P Bolourani, J Clark, LR Stephens, PT Hawkins, OD Weiner, G Weeks, RR Kay

Class-1 PI3-kinases are major regulators of the actin cytoskeleton, whose precise contributions to chemotaxis, phagocytosis and macropinocytosis remain unresolved. We used systematic genetic ablation to examine this question in growing Dictyostelium cells. Mass spectroscopy shows that a quintuple mutant lacking the entire genomic complement of class-1 PI3-kinases retains only 10% of wild-type PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 levels. Chemotaxis to folate and phagocytosis of bacteria proceed normally in the quintuple mutant but macropinocytosis is abolished. In this context PI3-kinases show specialized functions, only one of which is directly linked to gross PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 levels: macropinosomes originate in patches of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3, with associated F-actin-rich ruffles, both of which depend on PI3-kinase 1/2 (PI3K1/2) but not PI3K4, whereas conversion of ruffles into vesicles requires PI3K4. A biosensor derived from the Ras-binding domain of PI3K1 suggests that Ras is activated throughout vesicle formation. Binding assays show that RasG and RasS interact most strongly with PI3K1/2 and PI3K4, and single mutants of either Ras have severe macropinocytosis defects. Thus, the fundamental function of PI3-kinases in growing Dictyostelium cells is in macropinocytosis where they have two distinct functions, supported by at least two separate Ras proteins.

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Journal of cell science, 126, Pt 18, 4296-307, 2013

PMID: 23843627
DOI: 10.1242/jcs.134015

Open Access