Molecular and cellular biology

Pleiotropic insulin signals are engaged by multisite phosphorylation of IRS-1.

PMID 7504175


IRS-1 (insulin receptor substrate 1) is a principal insulin receptor substrate that undergoes tyrosine phosphorylation during insulin stimulation. It contains over 20 potential tyrosine phosphorylation sites, and we suspect that multiple insulin signals are enabled when the activated insulin receptor kinase phosphorylates several of them. Tyrosine-phosphorylated IRS-1 binds specifically to various cellular proteins containing Src homology 2 (SH2) domains (SH2 proteins). We identified some of the tyrosine residues of IRS-1 that undergo insulin-stimulated phosphorylation by the purified insulin receptor and in intact cells during insulin stimulation. Automated sequencing and manual radiosequencing revealed the phosphorylation of tyrosine residues 460, 608, 628, 895, 939, 987, 1172, and 1222; additional sites remain to be identified. Immobilized SH2 domains from the 85-kDa regulatory subunit (p85 alpha) of the phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase bind preferentially to tryptic phosphopeptides containing Tyr(P)-608 and Tyr(P)-939. By contrast, the SH2 domain in GRB2 and the amino-terminal SH2 domain in SHPTP2 (Syp) specifically bind to Tyr(P)-895 and Tyr(P)-1172, respectively. These results confirm the p85 alpha recognizes YMXM motifs and suggest that GRB2 prefers a phosphorylated YVNI motif, whereas SHPTP2 (Syp) binds to a phosphorylated YIDL motif. These results extend the notion that IRS-1 is a multisite docking protein that engages various downstream regulatory elements during insulin signal transmission.