Structural and functional characterization of the human T lymphocyte receptor for insulin-like growth factor I in vitro


Growth factor receptors for T lymphocytes, such as interleukin 2 and insulin, are present on activated but not resting T lymphocytes. We sought to determine if insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) could act as a growth factor for human T cells and to characterize its receptor on resting and activated cells. Recombinant IGF-I induced two separate functions. It was chemotactic for and increased incorporation of tritiated thymidine into both unactivated (resting) and mitogen-activated T cells. High-affinity 125I-IGF-I binding to human T cells was saturable with an apparent K(d) of 1.2 ± .6 x 10-10 M for binding to activated T cells and 1.2 ± .9 x 10-10 for unactivated T cells. The calculated binding for activated cells was 330 ± 90 and for resting cells 45 ± 9 high-affinity receptor sites per cell. Affinity cross-linking of 125I-IGF-I to resting or activated T cells revealed a radioligand-receptor complex of 360,000 mol wt when analyzed by SDS-PAGE without reduction and complexes of 270,000 and 135,000 mol wt upon reduction; prior incubation with excess unlabeled IGF-I prevented formation of the 125I-IGF-I receptor complex. Our data suggest that both resting and activated T lymphocytes bear functional IGF-I receptors similar to those found in other tissues. These receptors may mediate T cell growth and chemotaxis.

Publication Title

Journal of Clinical Investigation