Understanding the mechanism of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) receptor activation by IGF-II

Clair Alvino, Shee Chee Ong, Kerrie McNeil, Carlie Delaine, Grant Booker, John Wallace, Briony Forbes

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    59 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) promotes cell proliferation and survival and plays an important role in normal fetal development and placental function. IGF-II binds both the insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) and insulin receptor isoform A (IR-A) with high affinity. Interestingly both IGF-II and the IR-A are often upregulated in cancer and IGF-II acts via both receptors to promote cancer proliferation. There is relatively little known about the mechanism of ligand induced activation of the insulin (IR) and IGF-1R. The recently solved IR structure reveals a folded over dimer with two potential ligand binding pockets arising from residues on each receptor half. Site-directed mutagenesis has mapped receptor residues important for ligand binding to two separate sites within the ligand binding pocket and we have recently shown that the IGFs have two separate binding surfaces which interact with the receptor sites 1 and 2. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study we describe a series of partial IGF-1R and IR agonists generated by mutating Glu12 of IGF-II. By comparing receptor binding affinities, abilities to induce negative cooperativity and potencies in receptor activation, we provide evidence that residue Glu12 bridges the two receptor halves leading to receptor activation. Conclusions/Significance: This study provides novel insight into the mechanism of receptor binding and activation by IGF-II, which may be important for the future development of inhibitors of its action for the treatment of cancer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere27488
    Pages (from-to)e27488
    Number of pages9
    JournalPLoS One
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2011


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