PTEN is a tumor suppressor with sequence homology to protein-tyrosine phosphatases and the cytoskeleton protein tensin. PTEN is capable of dephosphorylating phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate in vitro and down- regulating its levels in insulin-stimulated 293 cells. To study the role of PTEN in insulin signaling, we overexpressed PTEN in 3T3-L1 adipocytes ~30- fold above uninfected or control virus (green fluorescent protein)-infected cells, using an adenovirus gene transfer system. PTEN overexpression inhibited insulin-induced 2-deoxy-glucose uptake by 36%, GLUT4 translocation by 35%, and membrane ruffling by 50%, all of which are phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent processes, compared with uninfected cells or cells infected with control virus. Microinjection of an anti-PTEN antibody increased basal and insulin stimulated GLUT4 translocation, suggesting that inhibition of endogenous PTEN function led to an increase in intracellular phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate levels, which stimulates GLUT4 translocation. Further, insulin-induced phosphorylation of downstream targets Akt and p70S6 kinase were also inhibited significantly by overexpression of PTEN, whereas tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and IRS-1 or the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase were not affected, suggesting that the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway remains fully functional. Thus, we conclude that PTEN may regulate phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent insulin signaling pathways in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.
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