The tumor suppressor PTEN controls cell proliferation by regulating phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) activity, but the participation of PTEN in host defense against bacterial infection is less well understood. Anti-inflammatory PI3K-Akt signaling is suppressed in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease characterized by hyper-inflammatory responses to airway infection. We found that Ptenl−/− mice, which lack the NH2-amino terminal splice variant of PTEN, were unable to eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa from the airways and could not generate sufficient anti-inflammatory PI3K activity, similar to what is observed in CF. PTEN and the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) interacted directly and this interaction was necessary to position PTEN at the membrane. CF patients under corrector-potentiator therapy, which enhances CFTR transport to the membrane, have increased PTEN amounts. These findings suggest that improved CFTR trafficking could enhance P. aeruginosa clearance from the CF airway by activating PTEN-mediated anti-bacterial responses and might represent a therapeutic strategy.
Anti-inflammatory PI3K-Akt signaling is suppressed in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease characterized by hyper-inflammatory responses to airway infection. Riquelme et al. find that CFTR channel directly interacts with tumor suppressor PTEN, which regulates PI3K activity. CFTR helps position PTEN at the membrane to promote PTEN function and host immunity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.