Constitutive expression of IGF-binding protein-3 by mammary epithelial cells alters signaling through Akt and p70S6 kinase

C. J. Grill, U. Sivaprasad, W. S. Cohick

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26 Scopus citations


IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) potentiates IGF-I action in the non-transformed mammary epithelial cell line, MAC-T, via a mechanism that is independent of its ability to bind IGF-I. The goal of the present study was to determine if IGFBP-3 might enhance IGF action by influencing intracellular signaling events downstream of the IGF receptor. IGF-I stimulated a time-dependent activation of Akt in which phosphorylation of Ser473 was detectable by 1 min and maximal at 15 min. In contrast, no activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 by IGF-I was observed although basal phosphorylation was readily detectable. In MAC-T cells constitutively expressing IGFBP-3 (+BP3), phosphorylation of Akt following stimulation with IGF-I was enhanced relative to mock-transfected cells (Mock). The enhancement was detectable within 1 min of IGF-I treatment and persisted for up to 10 h. The increased phosphorylation observed by Western blotting corresponded to a 1.7-fold increase in Akt kinase activity. The enhanced Akt response was elicited by factors that activate the IGF receptor but exhibit reduced affinity for IGFBP-3, such as Long R3IGF-I, B chain IGF-I and insulin. In contrast, [Leu60]IGF-I, which binds IGFBP-3 but has reduced affinity for the IGF receptor, failed to induce comparable activation, suggesting that an association between IGF-I and IGFBP-3 is not required for the effect. The enhanced Akt activation could not be mimicked by addition of exogenous IGFBP-3. Akt phosphorylation was also enhanced by transforming growth factor-α in +BP3 cells, indicating that the effect was not specific to IGF-I. Similar to Akt, phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) by IGF-I was also enhanced in +BP3 cells relative to Mock cells at both 15 min and 10 h. However, this was largely an effect of lower basal activation of p70S6K in +BP3 cells. These data indicate that endogenous IGFBP-3 potentiates IGF action in MAC-T cells by enhancing signaling via the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway at a point that is downstream of IGF receptor activation. Further studies will delineate specific mechanisms by which IGFBP-3 may influence intracellular events that regulate growth in mammary epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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