Cancer-specific mutations in the iSH2 (inter-SH2) and nSH2 (N-terminal SH2) domains of p85alpha, the regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), show gain of function. They induce oncogenic cellular transformation, stimulate cellular proliferation, and enhance PI3K signaling. Quantitative determinations of oncogenic activity reveal large differences between individual mutants of p85alpha. The mutant proteins are still able to bind to the catalytic subunits p110alpha and p110beta. Studies with isoform-specific inhibitors of p110 suggest that expression of p85 mutants in fibroblasts leads exclusively to an activation of p110alpha, and p110alpha is the sole mediator of p85 mutant-induced oncogenic transformation. The characteristics of the p85 mutants are in agreement with the hypothesis that the mutations weaken an inhibitory interaction between p85alpha and p110alpha while preserving the stabilizing interaction between p85alpha iSH2 and the adapter-binding domain of p110alpha.