Regulation of the p85/p110 phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase: Stabilization and inhibition of the p110α catalytic subunit by the p85 regulatory subunit

Jinghua Yu, Yitao Zhang, James Mcilroy, Tamara Rordorf-Nikolic, George A. Orr, Jonathan M. Backer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

420 Scopus citations


We propose a novel model for the regulation of the p85/p110α phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase. In insect cells, the p110α catalytic subunit is active as a monomer but its activity is decreased by coexpression with the p85 regulatory subunit. Similarly, the lipid kinase activity of recombinant glutathione S-transferase (GST)-p110α is reduced by 65 to 85% upon in vitro reconstitution with p85. Incubation of p110α/p85 dimers with phosphotyrosyl peptides restored activity, but only to the level of monomeric p110α. These data show that the binding of phosphoproteins to the SH2 domains of p85 activates the p85/p110α dimers by inducing a transition from an inhibited to a disinhibited state. In contrast, monomeric p110 had little activity in HEK 293T cells, and its activity was increased 15- to 20-fold by coexpression with p85. However, this apparent requirement for p85 was eliminated by the addition of a bulky tag to the N terminus of p110α or by the growth of the HEK 293T cells at 30°C. These nonspecific interventions mimicked the elects of p85 on p110α, suggesting that the regulatory subunit acts by stabilizing the overall conformation of the catalytic subunit rather than by inducing a specific activated conformation. This stabilization was directly demonstrated in metabolically labeled HEK 293T cells, in which p85 increased the half- life of p110. Furthermore, p85 protected p110 from thermal inactivation in vitro. Importantly, when we examined the effect of p85 on GST-p110α in mammalian cells at 30°C, culture conditions that stabilize the catalytic subunit and that are similar to the conditions used for insect cells, we found that p85 inhibited p110α. Thus, we have experimentally distinguished two effects of p85 on p110α: conformational stabilization of the catalytic subunit and inhibition of its lipid kinase activity. Our data reconcile the apparent conflict between previous studies of insect versus mammalian cells and show that p110α is both stabilized and inhibited by dimerization with p85.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1379-1387
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of the p85/p110 phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase: Stabilization and inhibition of the p110α catalytic subunit by the p85 regulatory subunit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this