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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1994 May;101(1-2):141-50.

Human colon carcinoma cells (CaCo-2) synthesize IGF-II and express IGF-I receptors and IGF-II/M6P receptors.

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Department of Paediatric Endocrinology, Children's Hospital, University of Munich, Germany.


The IGFs have been implicated in the development of the intestinal tract. We have studied the human colon carcinoma cell line CaCo-2 to gain more insight into the function of the IGFs in the gut. [125I]IGF-I and -II bound specifically to CaCo-2 cells as measured in competitive binding experiments. The existence of IGF-I receptors was further demonstrated by affinity crosslinking studies using DSS as the crosslinking agent. Western blotting of CaCo-2 cell extracts using an anti IGF-II/M6P receptor antiserum provided additional evidence for the expression of the IGF-II/M6P receptor. In addition, Northern blotting experiments showed specific IGF-I receptor and IGF-II/M6P receptor gene expression in CaCo-2 cells. An 11 kb band was visualized with a 614 bp PstI IGF-I receptor probe on autoradiographs. Hybridization with a 663 bp IGF-II/M6P receptor probe yielded a 9 kb RNA species. Analysis of CaCo-2 cell RNA using solution hybridization/RNase protection assays yielded two protected fragments, approximately 379 bases in length, with a 394 base IGF-I receptor riboprobe and a 250 base protected fragment with a 260 base IGF-II/M6P receptor riboprobe. In a subset of experiments a PstI 700 base fragment of the IGF-I cDNA and a 554 base SalI fragment of the IGF-II cDNA were used for hybridization: no hybridization was detected with the IGF-I probe. However, using the [32P]IGF-II probe bands at 6.0 and 5.0 kb were labeled in Northern blotting experiments. Analysis of CaCo-2 cell RNA using solution hybridization/RNase protection assays yielded a 289 base protected fragment and a faint 534 base species with a 556 base human IGF-II riboprobe. In addition, IGF-II immunoreactivity was measured in CaCo-2 cell-conditioned medium using an IGF-binding protein blocked radioimmunoassay. CaCo-2 cell-conditioned medium contained 5-15 ng/ml IGF-II immunoreactivity. In conclusion, (1) CaCo-2 cells express both IGF-I receptor mRNA and IGF-II/M6P receptor mRNA and contain functional IGF-I receptor and IGF-II/M6P receptor protein. (2) CaCo-2 cells express IGF-II mRNA and secrete IGF-II immunoreactivity. We hypothesize that in human colon carcinoma cells IGF-II could act as an autocrine growth factor or alternatively could serve as a regulatory factor during differentiation.

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