Hypoxia and Leucine Deprivation Induce Human Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein-1 Hyperphosphorylation and Increase Its Biological Activity
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Fetal growth restriction is often caused by uteroplacental insufficiency that leads to fetal hypoxia and nutrient deprivation. Elevated IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-1 expression associated with fetal growth restriction has been documented. In this study we tested the hypothesis that hypoxia and nutrient deprivation induce IGFBP-1 phosphorylation and increase its biological potency in inhibiting IGF actions. HepG2 cells were subjected to hypoxia and leucine deprivation to mimic the deprivation of metabolic substrates. The total IGFBP-1 levels measured by ELISA were approximately 2- to 2.5-fold higher in hypoxia and leucine deprivation-treated cells compared with the controls. Two-dimensional immunoblotting showed that whereas the nonphosphorylated isoform is the predominant IGFBP-1 in the controls, the highly phosphorylated isoforms were dominant in hypoxia and leucine deprivation-treated cells. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis revealed four serine phosphorylation sites: three known sites (pSer 101, pSer 119, and pSer 169); and a novel site (pSer 98). Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to estimate the changes of phosphorylation upon treatment. Biacore analysis indicated that the highly phosphorylated IGFBP-1 isoforms found in hypoxia and leucine deprivation-treated cells had greater affinity for IGF-I [dissociation constant 5.83E (times 10 to the power)--0 m and 6.40E-09 m] relative to the IGFBP-1 from the controls (dissociation constant approximately 1.54E-07 m). Furthermore, the highly phosphorylated IGFBP-1 had a stronger effect in inhibiting IGF-I-stimulated cell proliferation. These findings suggest that IGFBP-1 phosphorylation may be a novel mechanism of fetal adaptive response to hypoxia and nutrient restriction.