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EMBO J. 1989 May;8(5):1369-75.

Differential signalling potential of insulin- and IGF-1-receptor cytoplasmic domains.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Genetech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080.


The human receptors for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and insulin, and two chimeric receptors consisting of ligand-binding, extracellular insulin receptor and intracellular IGF-1 receptor structures, have been expressed in NIH-3T3 fibroblasts. All four receptor types were synthesized, processed and transported to the cell surface to form high-affinity binding sites. All normal and chimeric receptors had an active tyrosine kinase which was regulated by homologous or heterologous ligands respectively. In addition, cell surface receptors were internalized efficiently and subjected to accelerated degradation in the presence of ligand. While all four types of receptor stimulated glucose transport with similar efficiency, they displayed significant differences in their mitogenic signalling potentials. Receptors with an IGF-1 receptor cytoplasmic domain were 10 times more active in stimulating DNA synthesis than the insulin receptor. In NIH-3T3 cells overexpressing wild-type and chimeric receptors, maximal growth responses obtained with IGF-1 or insulin alone were equivalent to those obtained with 10% fetal calf serum. We conclude that in the cell system employed the receptors for IGF-1 and insulin mediate short-term responses similarly, but display distinct characteristics in their long-term mitogenic signalling potentials.

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