The Q allele variant (GLN121) of membrane glycoprotein PC-1 interacts with the insulin receptor and inhibits insulin signaling more effectively than the common K allele variant (LYS121)

Benedetta V. Costanzo, Vincenzo Trischitta, Rosa Di Paola, Daniela Spampinato, Antonio Pizzuti, Riccardo Vigneri, Lucia Frittitta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


When overexpressed, the membrane glycoprotein PC-1 may play a role in human insulin resistance through the inhibition of insulin receptor (IR) autophosphorylation. A PC-1 variant (K121Q, with lysine 121 replaced by glutamine) is also associated with whole-body insulin resistance when not overexpressed. To better understand the effects of the Q allele on IR function and downstream signaling, we transfected cultured cells with cDNAs for either the Q or the K alleles. In human MCF-7 cells, the Q allele was severalfold more effective (P <0.05-0.01) than the K allele in reducing insulin stimulation of IR autophosphorylation, insulin receptor substrate-1 phosphorylation, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity, glycogen synthesis, and cell proliferation. Similar data on IR autophosphorylation inhibition were also obtained in mouse R-/hIR and human HEK 293 cell lines. In transfected MCF-7 cells, 125I-labeled insulin binding and IR content were unchanged, and PC-1 overexpression did not influence IGF-1 stimulation of IGF-1 receptor autophosphorylation. Both the Q and K alleles directly interacted with the IR, as documented by coimmunoprecipitation assays. This interaction was greater for the Q allele than for the K allele (P <0.01), suggesting that direct PC-1-IR interactions are important for the PC-1 inhibitory effect on insulin signaling. In conclusion, the Q allele has stronger inhibitory activity on IR function and insulin action than the more common K allele, and this is likely a consequence of the intrinsic characteristics of the molecule, which more strongly interacts with the IR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-836
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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