Author(s): Hers I, Vincent EE, Tavar JM
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Abstract Akt (also known as protein kinase B or PKB) comprises three closely related isoforms Akt1, Akt2 and Akt3 (or PKBα/β/γ respectively). We have a very good understanding of the mechanisms by which Akt isoforms are activated by growth factors and other extracellular stimuli as well as by oncogenic mutations in key upstream regulatory proteins including Ras, PI3-kinase subunits and PTEN. There are also an ever increasing number of Akt substrates being identified that play a role in the regulation of the diverse array of biological effects of activated Akt; this includes the regulation of cell proliferation, survival and metabolism. Dysregulation of Akt leads to diseases of major unmet medical need such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological diseases. As a result there has been substantial investment in the development of small molecular Akt inhibitors that act competitively with ATP or phospholipid binding, or allosterically. In this review we will briefly discuss our current understanding of how Akt isoforms are regulated, the substrate proteins they phosphorylate and how this integrates with the role of Akt in disease. We will furthermore discuss the types of Akt inhibitors that have been developed and are in clinical trials for human cancer, as well as speculate on potential on-target toxicities, such as disturbances of heart and vascular function, metabolism, memory and mood, which should be monitored very carefully during clinical trial. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Cell Signal
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology