The activation of PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) family members is a universal event in response to virtually all cytokines, growth factors and hormones. As a result of formation of PtdIns with an added phosphate at the 3 position of the inositol ring, activation of the protein kinases PDK1 (phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1) and PKB (protein kinase B)/Akt occurs. The PI3K/PKB pathway impinges upon a remarkable array of intracellular events that influence either directly or indirectly whether or not a cell will undergo apoptosis. In this review, the many ways in which PI3K/PKB can control these processes are summarized. Not all of the events described will necessarily play a role in any one cell type, but a subset of these events is probably essential for the survival of every cell.

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