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Title: Mechanistic investigation of genotype-phenotype correlations in PIK3R1-related diseases
Author: Tomlinson, Patsy Roseanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 8157
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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The PIK3R1 gene encodes three proteins - p85$\alpha$, p50$\alpha$ and p55$\alpha$ - that are regulatory subunits of Class IA phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks). These regulatory subunits heterodimerise with one of three catalytic subunit isoforms, namely p110$\alpha$, p110$\beta$, or p110$\delta$. Class IA PI3Ks are critical enzymes involved in fundamental metabolic and mitogenic signalling pathways. This thesis describes the delineation of biochemical and molecular mechanisms whereby PIK3R1 mutations cause diverse disease phenotypes observed in SHORT syndrome (defined by Short stature, Hyperextensibility, Ocular depression, Rieger anomaly and Teething delay), the primary immunodeficiency Activated PI3K-$\delta$ Syndrome 2 (APDS2), and cancer. Initial studies of purified wildtype or mutant PI3K complexes, utilising a modified PI3K fluorescence polarisation lipid kinase assay, established that SHORT syndrome-associated p85$\alpha$ mutations impaired phosphotyrosine peptide-stimulated PI3K activity when heterodimerised with either of the Class IA catalytic subunit isoforms. Two cancer-associated mutations assessed using the same assay demonstrated differential effects on PI3K function, causing either basal activation or impaired phosphotyrosine peptide-stimulated PI3K activity. To examine the effect of SHORT syndrome-associated p85$\alpha$ mutations in insulin-responsive cell types, 3T3-L1 preadipocyte models with conditional overexpression of p85$\alpha$ Y657X or p85$\alpha$ R649W were generated. Doxycycline-induced overexpression of mutant p85$\alpha$ attenuated insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation due to reduced insulin-stimulated association of p85$\alpha$/p110$\alpha$ heterodimers with either IRS1 or IRS2. This in turn resulted in impaired downstream signalling as indicated by low adipogenic efficiency. Cells and tissues isolated from Pik3r1$^{WT/Y657X}$ knock-in mice also demonstrated decreased insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation. Observations from a system with endogenous expression of mutant p85$\alpha$ Y657X supported the results obtained in the 3T3-L1 p85$\alpha$ overexpression models. The final part of this thesis focussed on a PIK3R1 exon skipping mutant (p85$\alpha$ $\Delta$Ex11) that confers PI3K activation in lymphocytes and causes APDS2. APDS2 patients have an immune-restricted phenotype, even though the mutation occurs within the ubiquitously expressed PIK3R1. To investigate this phenomenon, the doxycycline-inducible system was used to model overexpression of p85$\alpha$ $\Delta$Ex11, as well as an activating p110$\alpha$ H1047R mutation associated with cancer, in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Surprisingly, given that APDS2 is not normally associated with metabolic or growth problems, high overexpression of p85$\alpha$ $\Delta$Ex11 severely attenuated insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation and adipocyte differentiation. There was also reduced insulin-stimulated recruitment of p110$\alpha$ to either IRS1 or IRS2, and impaired heterodimerisation of p85$\alpha$ $\Delta$Ex11 with p110$\alpha$. Collectively, the data presented in this thesis contributes to the developing knowledge of PIK3R1-related diseases. In particular, these studies provided novel insights into the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of SHORT syndrome-associated p85$\alpha$ mutations. Additionally, these data delivered further understanding of potential mechanisms underlying the immune-specific phenotype of APDS2 caused by PIK3R1 mutations.
Supervisor: Semple, Robert Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: SHORT syndrome ; Phosphoinositide 3-kinase ; PI3K ; Metabolism ; Cell Signalling ; Genotype-Phenotype