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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 930710, 11 pages
Review Article

GSK-3 𝜷 : A Bifunctional Role in Cell Death Pathways

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA
2School of Medcine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA
3Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
4Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

Received 6 January 2012; Revised 9 March 2012; Accepted 12 March 2012

Academic Editor: Paolo Pinton

Copyright © 2012 Keith M. Jacobs et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β) was originally named for its ability to phosphorylate glycogen synthase and regulate glucose metabolism, this multifunctional kinase is presently known to be a key regulator of a wide range of cellular functions. GSK-3β is involved in modulating a variety of functions including cell signaling, growth metabolism, and various transcription factors that determine the survival or death of the organism. Secondary to the role of GSK-3β in various diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation, diabetes, and cancer, small molecule inhibitors of GSK-3β are gaining significant attention. This paper is primarily focused on addressing the bifunctional or conflicting roles of GSK-3β in both the promotion of cell survival and of apoptosis. GSK-3β has emerged as an important molecular target for drug development.