The serine/threonine kinase Akt is a key mediator of cell survival and growth, but its precise mechanism of action, and more specifically, the nature of its signaling partners largely remain to be elucidated. We show, using a proteomics-based approach, that the valosin-containing protein (VCP), a member of the AAA (ATPases associated with a variety of cellular activities) family, is a target of Akt signaling. SDS-PAGE of Akt co-immunoprecipitated proteins obtained from MCF-7 breast cancer cells revealed the increase of a 97-kDa band under Akt activation. Mass spectrometry analysis allowed the identification of VCP, and we have shown a serine/threonine phosphorylation on an Akt consensus site upon activation by growth factors. Site-directed mutagenesis identified Ser-351, Ser-745, and Ser-747 as Akt phosphorylation sites on VCP. Confocal microscopy indicated a co-localization between Akt and VCP upon Akt stimulation. Interestingly, small interfering RNA against VCP induced an inhibition of the growth factor-induced activation of NF-kappaB and a potent pro-apoptotic effect. Together, these data identify VCP as an essential target of Akt signaling.
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