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The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) type 1 receptor is required for growth, transformation, and protection from apoptosis. IGFs can enhance cell migration, which is known to be influenced via regulation of the E-cadherin/beta-catenin complex. We sought to investigate whether IGF-1 modulated the interaction between E-cadherin and beta-catenin in human colorectal cancer cells. We used the C10 cell line, which we established and have previously shown to lack adenomatous polyposis coli, E-cadherin, or beta-catenin mutations. We found that IGF-1 stimulation enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of two proteins, beta-catenin and insulin-receptor substrate 1, which formed a complex with E-cadherin. Tyrosine phosphorylation of beta-catenin was accompanied by rapid (<1 min) dissociation from E-cadherin at the plasma membrane, followed by relocation to the cellular cytoplasm. IGF-1 also enhanced the stability of beta-catenin protein. Despite this, we observed no enhancement of transcriptional activity in complex with T-cell factor 4 (Tcf-4) in human embryonic kidney 293 cells treated with IGF-1 or insulin alone. IGF-1 did, however, enhance transcriptional activity in combination with lithium chloride, an inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta, which also stabilizes beta-catenin. In conclusion, we have shown that IGF-1 causes tyrosine phosphorylation and stabilization of beta-catenin. These effects may contribute to transformation, cell migration, and a propensity for metastasis in vivo.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





12103 - 12108


Cell Line, Colorectal Neoplasms, Cytoskeletal Proteins, Humans, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Receptors, Somatomedin, Signal Transduction, Trans-Activators, Transcription, Genetic, Tumor Cells, Cultured, beta Catenin