Functional antagonism of β-arrestin isoforms balance IGF-1R expression and signalling with distinct cancer-related biological outcomes

N. Suleymanova, C. Crudden, T. Shibano, C. Worrall, I. Oprea, A. Tica, G. A. Calin, A. Girnita, L. Girnita*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


With very similar 3D structures, the widely expressed β-arrestin isoforms 1 and 2 play at times identical, distinct or even opposing roles in regulating various aspects of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) expression and signalling. Recent evidence recognizes the β-arrestin system as a key regulator of not only GPCRs, but also receptor tyrosine kinases, including the highly cancer relevant insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor (IGF-1R). Binding of β-arrestin1 to IGF-1R leads to ligand-dependent degradation of the receptor and generates additional MAPK/ERK signalling, protecting cancer cells against anti-IGF-1R therapy. Because the interplay between β-arrestin isoforms governs the biological effects for most GPCRs, as yet unexplored for the IGF-1R, we sought to investigate specifically the regulatory roles of the β-arrestin2 isoform on expression and function of the IGF-1R. Results from controlled expression of either β-arrestin isoform demonstrate that β-arrestin2 acts in an opposite manner to β-arrestin1 by promoting degradation of an unstimulated IGF-1R, but protecting the receptor against agonist-induced degradation. Although both isoforms co-immunoprecipitate with IGF-1R, the ligand-occupied receptor has greater affinity for β-arrestin1; this association lasts longer, sustains MAPK/ERK signalling and mitigates p53 activation. Conversely, β-arrestin2 has greater affinity for the ligandunoccupied receptor; this interaction is transient, triggers receptor ubiquitination and degradation without signalling activation, and leads to a lack of responsiveness to IGF-1, cell cycle arrest and decreased viability of cancer cells. This study reveals contrasting abilities of IGF-1R to interact with each β-arrestin isoform, depending on the presence of the ligand and demonstrates the antagonism between the two β-arrestin isoforms in controlling IGF-1R expression and function, which could be developed into a practical anti-IGF-1R strategy for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5734-5744
Number of pages11
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2017

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