PI3K proteins family have multiple and essential functions in most cellular events. This family is composed of class I, class II and class III PI3Ks, which upstream and downstream elements are not completely elucidated. Previous studies using the broad PI3K inhibitor, LY294002 allowed to propose that PI3 kinase > Akt pathway is a key element in the determination of axonal polarity in hippocampal neurons. Recently, new inhibitors with a higher selectivity for class I PI3K have been characterized. In the present study we have examined this widely accepted theory using a new class I PI3K inhibitor (GDC-0941), as well as Akt inhibitors, and PTEN phosphatase constructs to reduce PIP3 levels. Our present data show that both, class I PI3K inhibitor and Akt inhibitor did not alter axon specification in hippocampal neurons, but greatly reduced axon length. However, in the same experiments LY294002 effectively impeded axonal polarization, as previously reported. Our biochemical data show that both, class I PI3K and Akt inhibitors, effectively block downstream elements from Akt to S6K1 activity. Both inhibitors are stable in culture medium along the time period analysed, maintaining the inhibition better than LY294002. Besides, we found evidence that LY294002 directly inhibits mTORC1. However, further analysis using an mTORC1 inhibitor showed no change in neuron polarity. Same result was obtained using a general class III PI3K inhibitor. Interestingly, we found that either, wild-type PTEN, or a phosphatase-dead form of PTEN, disrupted axonal polarization, strongly suggesting that the role of PTEN in axonal polarity can be independent of PIP3.
Diez, H., Benitez, M. J., Fernandez, S., Torres-Aleman, I., Garrido, J. J., & Wandosell, F. (2016). Class I PI3-kinase or Akt inhibition do not impair axonal polarization, but slow down axonal elongation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1863(11), 2574–2583. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2016.07.002