Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Aug 2;102(31):11047-52. Epub 2005 Jul 22.

Role of pro-IGF-II processing by proprotein convertase 4 in human placental development.

Author information

  • 1Hormones, Growth, and Development and Disease of Aging Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Y 4E9.


Fetal growth restriction (intrauterine growth restriction, IUGR) is a leading cause of perinatal mortality. However, the causes of aberrant development of the placenta and, thus, of the fetus, are not currently known. Insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) has been shown to be an important regulator of fetoplacental growth. This growth factor must undergo posttranslational processing, and, thus, we hypothesized that aberrant processing of pro-IGF-II to IGF-II may be a cause of IUGR. Here, we have found that the proprotein convertase PC4 is expressed in the human placenta and that it cleaves pro-IGF-II to generate the intermediate processed form, IGF-II (1-102) and, subsequently, mature IGF-II (1-67), which are accounted for by the removal of terminal basic residues by carboxypeptidases. This processing confers the ability of IGF-II to activate invasive trophoblast cells through AKT phosphorylation, whereas inhibition of PC4 by a PC4-specific inhibitor blocks pro-IGF-II processing and reduces trophoblast cell migration, which can be partly restored by addition of mature IGF-II. Consistent with the hypothesis that IGF-II processing is implicated in IUGR, sera of patients carrying IUGR fetuses displayed elevated levels of pro-IGF-II. Thus, abnormal processing of IGF-II by PC4 may represent a previously uncharacterized mechanism involved in the pathophysiology of fetoplacental growth restriction, and elevated pro-IGF-II may be a useful clinical marker for risk of IUGR.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (7)Free text

Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 6.
Fig. 7.
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk