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J Biol Chem. 2004 Sep 3;279(36):38016-24. Epub 2004 Jul 7.

Differential roles of the insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) receptors in response to insulin and IGF-I.

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  • 1Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) receptors are highly homologous tyrosine kinase receptors that share many common steps in their signaling pathways and have ligands that can bind to either receptor with differing affinities. To define precisely the signaling specific to the insulin receptor (IR) or the IGF-I receptor, we have generated brown preadipocyte cell lines that lack either receptor (insulin receptor knockout (IRKO) or insulin-like growth factor receptor knockout (IGFRKO)). Control preadipocytes expressed fewer insulin receptors than IGF-I receptors (20,000 versus 60,000), but during differentiation, insulin receptor levels increased so that mature adipocytes expressed slightly more insulin receptors than IGF-I receptors (120,000 versus 100,000). In these cells, insulin stimulated IR homodimer phosphorylation, whereas IGF-I activated both IGF-I receptor homodimers and hybrid receptors. Insulin-stimulated IRS-1 phosphorylation was significantly impaired in IRKO cells but was surprisingly elevated in IGFRKO cells. IRS-2 phosphorylation was unchanged in either cell line upon insulin stimulation. IGF-I-dependent phosphorylation of IRS-1 and IRS-2 was ablated in IGFRKO cells but not in IRKO cells. In control cells, both insulin and IGF-I produced a dose-dependent increase in phosphorylated Akt and MAPK, although IGF-I elicited a stronger response at an equivalent dose. In IRKO cells, the insulin-dependent increase in phospho-Akt was completely abolished at the lowest dose and reached only 20% of the control stimulation at 10 nm. Most interestingly, the response to IGF-I was also impaired at low doses, suggesting that IR is required for both insulin- and IGF-I-dependent phosphorylation of Akt. Most surprisingly, insulin- or IGF-I-dependent phosphorylation of MAPK was unaltered in either receptor-deficient cell line. Taken together, these results indicate that the insulin and IGF-I receptors contribute distinct signals to common downstream components in response to both insulin and IGF-I.

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