IGF-1R, a member of the tyrosine receptor family, is well documented in various experimental models to be an important factor in cell transformation, tumor progression, protection from apoptosis and metastasis. In the absence of IGF-1R, most oncogenes are unable to induce malignant transformation, suggesting that some signaling pathways activated by IGF-1R are essential for transformation. We have recently demonstrated that β-arrestin1 (β-arr1), a key regulator of G Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR), is involved in IGF-1R signaling. Upon ligand binding, β-arr1 brings Mdm2, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, to the IGF-1R resulting in receptor ubiquitination. β-arr1 also functions as a scaffold to activate the MAPK pathway like GPCR. This study aims to investigate whether the β-arr1 mediated signal of IGF-1R is necessary for malignant transformation.
Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and a bladder cancer cell line, T24 cells were used as target cells. β-arr1 knockdown was performed by siRNA transfection. Activation of MAPK and PI-3K pathways was analysed by western blot. Cell proliferation was evaluated by PrestoBlue assay. Cellular transformation was estimated by colony formation assay in soft agar.
To investigate whether β-arr1 is important for transformation, we stably transfected WT MEF and β-arr1 deficient MEFs with some oncogenes such as HRasV12, PvMT, and vSrc. In the absence of β-arr1, HRasV12 was not able to induce malignant transformation. Similar sensitivity to absence of β-arrestin1 was not observed with PyMT or vSrc. β-arr1 regulates IGF-1-induced activation of the MAPK and PI-3K pathways, both pathways being less active in the absence of β-arr1. These data suggested that β-arr1 is involved in Ras-mediated malignant transformation. In T24 cells with the same mutation in HRas, β-arr1 knockdown attenuate IGF-1 induced MAPK and PI-3K pathways like MEFs. Consistent with less activation of the downstream, IGF-1 induced cell proliferation and colony formation are decreased in β-arr1 knockdown cells, indicating that β-arr1 is required for malignant phenotypes in T24 cells.
These data suggest that β-arr1-dependent signaling by the IGF-1R regulates mechanisms involved in malignant transformation and progression of cancer cells.
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Karolinska institutes, Department of Oncology-Pathology, Leonard Girnita’s group.
Swedish Research Council, Swedish Cancer Society, The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.