Silencing of the insulin receptor isoform A favors formation of type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR) homodimers and enhances ligand-induced IGF-IR activation and viability of human colon carcinoma cells.
Brierley GV., Macaulay SL., Forbes BE., Wallace JC., Cosgrove LJ., Macaulay VM.
Insulin receptor (IR) overexpression is common in cancers, with expression of the A isoform (IR-A, exon 11-) predominating over the B isoform. The IR-A signals a proliferative, antiapoptotic response to IGF-II, which itself can be secreted by tumors to establish an autocrine proliferative loop. Therefore, IGF-II signaling via the IR-A could mediate resistance to type 1 IGF receptor (IGF-IR) inhibitory drugs that are currently in development. This study addressed the role of the IR-A, using a small interfering RNA-based approach in SW480 human colon adenocarcinoma cells that coexpress the IGF-IR. Clonogenic survival was inhibited by depletion of the IGF-IR but not the IR-A, and dual receptor depletion had no greater effect than IGF-IR knockdown alone, suggesting that the IR-A could not compensate for IGF-IR loss. IGF-IR knockdown also resulted in a decrease in viability, whereas IR-A depletion resulted in increased viability. Consistent with this, upon IR-A depletion, we found a concomitant enhancement of IGF-IR activation by IGF-I and IGF-II, reduced formation of IGF-IR:IR-A hybrid receptors and increased IGF-IR homodimer formation. Together, these results suggest that IGF bioactivity is mediated more effectively by the IGF-IR than by the IR-A or receptor hybrids and that signaling via the IGF-IR is dominant to the IR-A in colon cancer cells that express both receptors.