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Sci Signal. 2012 Dec 18;5(255):ra92. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.2003184.

IGFBP7 binds to the IGF-1 receptor and blocks its activation by insulin-like growth factors.

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Biological Sciences Platform, Sunnybrook Research Institute and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5, Canada.


Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) is a secreted factor that suppresses growth, and the abundance of IGFBP7 inversely correlates with tumor progression. Here, we showed that pretreatment of normal and breast cancer cells with IGFBP7 interfered with the activation and internalization of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) in response to insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 (IGF-1/2), resulting in the accumulation of inactive IGF1R on the cell surface and blockade of downstream phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT signaling. Binding of IGFBP7 and IGF-1 to IGF1R was mutually exclusive, and the N-terminal 97 amino acids of IGFBP7 were important for binding to the extracellular portion of IGF1R and for preventing its activation. Prolonged exposure to IGFBP7 resulted in activation of the translational repressor 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) and enhanced sensitivity to apoptosis in IGF1R-positive cells. These results support a model whereby IGFBP7 binds to unoccupied IGF1R and suppresses downstream signaling, thereby inhibiting protein synthesis, cell growth, and survival.

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