Purpose: Insulin receptor substrates (IRSs) are essential for insulin-induced mitogenic effects on several cell types but they also are involved in cell transformation. We investigated whether the differential constitutive expression and potential distinct downstream signaling events of IRS-1 and IRS-2 might be related to discrete tumourigenic phenotypes of three human uterine leiomyosarcoma cell lines, one of which was specifically isolated for the present study. Methods and results: SK-UT-1B egressed effectively from a gellyfied Matrigel matrix and grew as did DMR cells in an anchorage-independent manner in agar and induced rapidly growing tumours in nude mice. On the contrary, SK-LMS-1 cells did not emigrate from Matrigel, neither grew in agar nor were they tumourigenic. IRS-2 was highly expressed in the more malignant cell lines, whereas IRS-1 was present only in SK-LMS-1 cells. However, upon insulin stimulation both IRS-1 and IRS-2 were tyrosine phosphorylated with a similar kinetic in the respective cell lines; furthermore, after 1 min of insulin stimulation PI3-kinase associated with IRSs and after 2 min Shc was phosphorylated and associated with Grb2 with minor differences detectable among the various cell lines in the duration of phosphorylation and/or in their association irrespective of whether IRS-1 or IRS-2 were expressed. Discussion: Our findings tend to exclude that the malignancy displayed by uterine leiomyosarcomas might be directly linked to the activation of distinct IRS-1- or IRS-2-dependent pathways.
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