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J Biol Chem. 2001 May 25;276(21):18185-92. Epub 2001 Mar 12.

Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) receptor activation rescues UV-damaged cells through a p38 signaling pathway. Potential role of the IGF-I receptor in DNA repair.

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Section on Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Clinical Endocrinology Branch, NIDDK and Gene Therapy and Therapeutics Branch, NIDCR, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1758, USA.


The activated insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) is implicated in mitogenesis, transformation, and anti-apoptosis. To investigate the role of the IGF-IR in protection from UV-mimetic-induced DNA damage, 4-nitroquinoline N-oxide (4-NQO) was used. In this study we show that the activation of the IGF-IR is capable of rescuing NWTb3 cells overexpressing normal IGF-IRs from 4-NQO-induced DNA damage as demonstrated by cellular proliferation assays. This action was specific for the IGF-IR since cells expressing dominant negative IGF-IRs were not rescued from 4-NQO UV-mimetic treatment. DNA damage induced by 4-NQO in NWTb3 cells was significantly decreased after IGF-IR activation as measured by comet assay. IGF-I was also able to overcome the cell cycle arrest, observed after 4-NQO treatment, thereby enhancing the ability of NWTb3 cells to enter S phase. Interestingly, the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway was shown to represent the main signaling pathway involved in the IGF-IR-mediated rescue of UV-like damaged cells. The ability of the IGF-IR to induce DNA repair was also demonstrated by infecting NWTb3 cells with UV-irradiated adenovirus. Activation of the IGF-IR resulted in enhanced beta-galactosidase reporter gene activity demonstrating repair of the damaged DNA. This study indicates a direct role of the IGF system in the rescue of damaged cells via DNA repair.

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