alexa IGF-I: a mitogen also involved in differentiation processes in mammalian cells.
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy

Author(s): Benito M

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The main source of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) postnatally is the liver, under growth hormone stimulation, although IGF-I is already present in embryonic tissues and in fetal serum, when its expression is independent of growth hormone. The extracellular alpha-subunit of the IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) contains an IGF-I binding domain, and the beta-subunit possesses tyrosine kinase activity, which is greatly enhanced when IGF-I binds to the alpha-subunit and leads to its autophosphorylation. Insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) is the most well characterized cellular substrate for IGF-I, containing at least 20 potential tyrosine phosphorylation sites. The tyrosine phosphorylated form of IRS-1 acts as a docking protein by associating SH2-containing proteins including the p85 regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (P13-kinase), the protein tyrosine phosphatase SH-PTP2, the SH2- and SH3-containing adaptor protein Nck and the growth factor receptor-bound protein-2 (Grb2/Sem5) protein. Grb2 is found associated with mSOS, a GTP/GDP exchange factor involved in converting the inactive Ras-GDP to the active Ras-GTP. The p85 regulatory subunit of PI3-kinase can be also a direct in vitro substrate of the IGF-IR. Although IRS-1 is the major substrate of the IGF-IR, there is another early phosphotyrosine substrate termed SHC, which also activates Ras via Grb2-mSos complex. Activation of p21-Ras induces a serine/threonine kinase cascade leading to the activation of MAP-kinases. The importance of IGF-I as a mitogen throughout development has been clearly demonstrated in IGF-I and IGF-IR knockout mouse studies and also in transgenic mice over-expressing IGF-I. IGF-I is a mitogen in many cell types in culture such as T lymphocytes, chondrocytes or osteoblasts and it is considered to be a progression factor in mouse fibroblasts. IGF-I is also involved in muscle, neurons and adipogenic differentiation of mesenchymal cells. However, IGF-I induces proliferation and differentiation in fetal brown adipocytes, suggesting that both cellular processes are not necessarily mutually exclusive in fetal cells. 

This article was published in The International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy

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