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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phosphorylation of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein 1 in cell culture and in vivo: effects on affinity for IGF-I.

The insulin-like growth factors (IGF-I and IGF-II) are present in extracellular fluids bound to specific IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs). We and others have reported varying biologic activity of different preparations of IGFBP-1 that appeared to have identical amino acid sequences and molecular sizes. This observation prompted us to determine whether IGFBP-1 undergoes posttranslational modifications. Immunoprecipitation was used to show that Chinese hamster ovary cells (transfected with a human IGFBP-1 cDNA construct) and human hepatoma (HepG2) cells secrete 32P-labeled IGFBP-1 following incubation with [32P]orthophosphate. Phospho amino acid analysis of 32P- labeled IGFBP-1 revealed only phosphoserine residues. A method was developed that could separate nonphosphorylated IGFBP-1 from four or five phosphorylated isoforms. Using this technique we demonstrated that human amniotic fluid and human fetal serum contain a large proportion of nonphosphorylated IGFBP-1, as well as phosphorylated forms. In contrast, HepG2 cells and human decidual cells secrete predominantly the phosphorylated isoforms. These observations suggest that IGFBP-1 is secreted as a phosphoprotein and is subsequently dephosphorylated in vivo. Binding studies showed that the phosphorylated IGFBP-1 secreted by HepG2 cells has a 6-fold higher affinity for IGF-I than it does after dephosphorylation. We conclude that IGFBP-1 is phosphorylated and that this phosphorylation is a physiologically important posttranslational modification.[1]


  1. Phosphorylation of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein 1 in cell culture and in vivo: effects on affinity for IGF-I. Jones, J.I., D'Ercole, A.J., Camacho-Hubner, C., Clemmons, D.R. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1991) [Pubmed]
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