PloS one

Insulin-like growth factor-I E-peptide activity is dependent on the IGF-I receptor.

PMID 23029120


Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is an essential growth factor that regulates the processes necessary for cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival. The Igf1 gene encodes mature IGF-I and a carboxy-terminal extension called the E-peptide. In rodents, alternative splicing and post-translational processing produce two E-peptides (EA and EB). EB has been studied extensively and has been reported to promote cell proliferation and migration independently of IGF-I and its receptor (IGF-IR), but the mechanism by which EB causes these actions has not been identified. Further, the properties of EA have not been evaluated. Therefore, the goals of this study were to determine if EA and EB possessed similar activity and if these actions were IGF-IR independent. We utilized synthetic peptides for EA, EB, and a scrambled control to examine cellular responses. Both E-peptides increased MAPK signaling, which was blocked by pharmacologic IGF-IR inhibition. Although the E-peptides did not directly induce IGF-IR phosphorylation, the presence of either E-peptide increased IGF-IR activation by IGF-I, and this was achieved through enhanced cell surface bioavailability of the receptor. To determine if E-peptide biological actions required the IGF-IR, we took advantage of the murine C2C12 cell line as a platform to examine the key steps of skeletal muscle proliferation, migration and differentiation. EB increased myoblast proliferation and migration while EA delayed differentiation. The proliferation and migration effects were inhibited by MAPK or IGF-IR signaling blockade. Thus, in contrast to previous studies, we find that E-peptide signaling, mitogenic, and motogenic effects are dependent upon IGF-IR. We propose that the E-peptides have little independent activity, but instead affect growth via modulating IGF-I signaling, thereby increasing the complexity of IGF-I biological activity.