Giant obscurins regulate the PI3K cascade in breast epithelial cells via direct binding to the PI3K/p85 regulatory subunit

Marey Shriver, Saravanakumar Marimuthu, Colin Paul, Janelle Geist, Tessa Seale, K Konstantopoulos, Aikaterini Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Obscurins are a family of giant cytoskeletal proteins, originally identified in striated muscles where they have structural and regulatory roles. We recently showed that obscurins are abundantly expressed in normal breast epithelial cells where they play tumor and metastasis suppressing roles, but are nearly lost from advanced stage breast cancer biopsies. Consistent with this, loss of giant obscurins from breast epithelial cells results in enhanced survival and growth, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), and increased cell migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo. In the current study, we demonstrate that loss of giant obscurins from breast epithelial cells is associated with significantly increased phosphorylation and subsequent activation of the PI3K signaling cascade, including activation of AKT, a key regulator of tumorigenesis and metastasis. Pharmacological and molecular inhibition of the PI3K pathway in obscurin-depleted breast epithelial cells results in reversal of EMT, (re)formation of cell-cell junctions, diminished mammosphere formation, and decreased cell migration and invasion. Coimmunoprecipitation, pull-down, and surface plasmon resonance assays revealed that obscurins are in a complex with the PI3K/p85 regulatory subunit, and that their association is direct and mediated by the obscurin-PH domain and the PI3K/p85-SH3 domain with a KD of ~50 nM. We therefore postulate that giant obscurins act upstream of the PI3K cascade in normal breast epithelial cells, regulating its activation through binding to the PI3K/p85 regulatory subunit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45414-45428
Number of pages15
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Akt
  • Breast cancer
  • Obscurin
  • PI3K
  • PI3K inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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