Skp2 over-expression has been observed in many human cancers. However, the mechanisms underlying elevated Skp2 expression have remained elusive. We recently reported that Akt1, but not Akt2, directly controls Skp2 stability by interfering with its association with APC/Cdh1. As a result, Skp2 degradation is protected in cancer cells with elevated Akt activity. This finding expands our knowledge of how specific kinase cascades influence proteolysis governed by APC/Cdh1 complexes. However, it awaits further investigation to elucidate whether the PI3K/Akt circuit affects other APC/Cdh1 substrates. Our results further strengthen the argument that different Akt isoforms might have distinct, even opposing functions in the regulation of cell growth or migration. In addition, we noticed that Ser72 is localized in a putative Nuclear Localization Sequence (NLS), and that phosphorylation of Ser72 disrupts the NLS and thus promotes Skp2 cytoplasmic translocation. This finding links elevated Akt activity with the observed cytoplasmic Skp2 staining in aggressive breast and prostate cancer patients. Furthermore, it provides the rationale for the development of specific Akt1 inhibitors as efficient anti-cancer therapeutic agents.
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