New insights into PTEN.
The functions ascribed to PTEN have become more diverse since its discovery as a putative phosphatase mutated in many human tumors. Although it can dephosphorylate lipids and proteins, it also has functions independent of phosphatase activity in normal and pathological states. In addition, control of PTEN function is very complex. It is positively and negatively regulated at the transcriptional level, as well as post-translationally by phosphorylation, ubiquitylation, oxidation and acetylation. Although most of its tumor suppressor activity is likely to be caused by lipid dephosphorylation at the plasma membrane, PTEN also resides in the cytoplasm and nucleus, and its subcellular distribution is under strict control. Deregulation of PTEN function is implicated in other human diseases in addition to cancer, including diabetes and autism.