Spatiotemporal analysis of differential Akt regulation in plasma membrane microdomains

Xinxin Gao, Jin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


As a central kinase in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway, Akt has been the subject of extensive research; yet, spatiotemporal regulation of Akt in different membrane microdomains remains largely unknown. To examine dynamic Akt activity in membrane microdomains in living cells, we developed a specific and sensitive fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based Akt activity reporter, AktAR, through systematic testing of different substrates and fluorescent proteins. Targeted AktAR reported higher Akt activity with faster activation kinetics within lipid rafts compared with nonraft regions of plasma membrane. Disruption of rafts attenuated platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-stimulated Akt activity in rafts without affecting that in nonraft regions. However, in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF)-1 stimulation, Akt signaling in nonraft regions is dependent on that in raft regions. As a result, cholesterol depletion diminishes Akt activity in both regions. Thus, Akt activities are differentially regulated in different membrane microdomains, and the overall activity of this oncogenic pathway is dependent on raft function. Given the increased abundance of lipid rafts in some cancer cells, the distinct Akt-activating characteristics of PDGF and IGF-1, in terms of both effectiveness and raft dependence, demonstrate the capabilities of different growth factor signaling pathways to transduce differential oncogenic signals across plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4366-4373
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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