GIPC is a PDZ-domain-containing protein identified in vertebrate and invertebrate organisms through its interaction with a variety of binding partners including many membrane proteins. Despite the multiple reports identifying GIPC, its endogenous function and the physiological significance of these interactions are much less studied. We have previously identified the Xenopus GIPC homolog kermit as a frizzled 3 interacting protein that is required for frizzled 3 induction of neural crest in ectodermal explants. We identified a second Xenopus GIPC homolog, named kermit 2 (also recently described as an IGF receptor interacting protein and named XGIPC). Despite its high amino acid similarity with kermit, kermit 2/XGIPC has a distinct function in Xenopus embryos. Loss-of-function analysis indicates that kermit 2/XGIPC is specifically required for Xenopus eye development. Kermit 2/XGIPC functions downstream of IGF in eye formation and is required for maintaining IGF-induced AKT activation. A constitutively active PI3 kinase partially rescues the Kermit 2/XGIPC loss-of-function phenotype. Our results provide the first in vivo loss of function analysis of GIPC in embryonic development and also indicate that kermit 2/XGIPC is a novel component of the IGF pathway, potentially functioning through modulation of the IGF1 receptor.
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