p85β regulates autophagic degradation of AXL to activate oncogenic signaling

Ling Rao, Victor C.Y. Mak, Yuan Zhou, Dong Zhang, Xinran Li, Chloe C.Y. Fung, Rakesh Sharma, Chao Gu, Yiling Lu, George L. Tipoe, Annie N.Y. Cheung, Gordon B. Mills, Lydia W.T. Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


PIK3R2 encodes the p85β regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and is frequently amplified in cancers. The signaling mechanism and therapeutic implication of p85β are poorly understood. Here we report that p85β upregulates the protein level of the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL to induce oncogenic signaling in ovarian cancer. p85β activates p110 activity and AKT-independent PDK1/SGK3 signaling to promote tumorigenic phenotypes, which are all abolished upon inhibition of AXL. At the molecular level, p85β alters the phosphorylation of TRIM2 (an E3 ligase) and optineurin (an autophagy receptor), which mediate the selective regulation of AXL by p85β, thereby disrupting the autophagic degradation of the AXL protein. Therapeutically, p85β expression renders ovarian cancer cells vulnerable to inhibitors of AXL, p110, or PDK1. Conversely, p85β-depleted cells are less sensitive to these inhibitors. Together, our findings provide a rationale for pharmacological blockade of the AXL signaling axis in PIK3R2-amplified ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2291
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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