FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

A steric blocker of translation elongation inhibits IGF-1R expression and cell transformation.

PMID 21402719


The insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) is involved in transformation, survival, mitogenesis and differentiation. It is overexpressed in many tumors and a validated target for anticancer therapy. In cell-free systems, polypyrimidic peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) can form triplex-like structures with messenger RNAs and halt the ribosomal machinery during the translation elongation. A 17-mer PNA that formed a PNA(2):mRNA complex with a purine-rich sequence located in the coding region of IGF-1R mRNA induced the synthesis of a truncated IGF-1R in vitro. This PNA down-regulated expression of the receptor by 70-80% in prostate cancer cells without affecting insulin receptor expression that exhibits high homology with IGF-1R. Inhibition occurs at the translational level, since the IGF-1R mRNA level measured by quantitative RT-PCR was not affected by PNA treatment. In addition, IGF-1R knockdown by PNA led to an attenuation of phosphorylation of downstream signaling pathways, PI3K/AKT and MAPK, involved in survival and mitogenesis and also to a decrease in cell transformation. Of the steric blockers tested, which included phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers and locked nucleic acids, PNA was unique in its ability to form triplex structures with mRNA and to arrest translation elongation.