Expression and function of IRS-1 in insulin signal transmission

Jian Sun Xiao Jian Sun, M. Miralpeix, M. G. Myers, E. M. Glasheen, J. M. Backer, C. R. Kahn, M. F. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


IRS-1 is a major insulin receptor substrate which may play an important role in insulin signal transmission. The mRNA for IRS-1 in rat cells and tissues is about 9.5 kilobases (kb). Rat liver IRS-1 was stably expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells (CHO/IRS-1). Although its calculated molecular mass is 131 kDa, IRS-1 from quiescent cells migrated between 165 and 170 kDa during sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. IRS-1 was phosphorylated strongly on serine residues and weakly on threonine residues before insulin stimulation. Insulin immediately stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1, and after 10-30 min with insulin its apparent molecular mass increased to 175-180 kDa. Expression of the human insulin receptor and rat IRS-1 together in CHO/IR/IRS-1 cells increased the basal serine phosphorylation of IRS-1 and strongly increased tyrosine phosphorylation during insulin stimulation. Purified insulin receptors directly phosphorylated baculovirus-produced IRS-1 exclusively on tyrosine residues. By immunofluorescence, IRS-1 was absent from the nucleus, but otherwise distributed uniformly before and after insulin stimulation. Some IRS-1 associated with the insulin receptor during insulin stimulation. In addition, a phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase associated with IRS-1 during insulin stimulation, and this association was more sensitive to insulin in CHO cells overexpressing the insulin receptor (CHO/IR cells), more responsive to insulin in CHO/IRS-1 cells, and both sensitive and responsive in CHO/IR/IRS-1 cells. Similarly, insulin-stimulated DNA synthesis was more sensitive to insulin in CHO/IR cells, and more responsive in CHO/IRS-1 cells; however, insulin-stimulated DNA synthesis was sensitive but poorly responsive to insulin in CHO/IR/IRS-1 cells. Together, these results suggest that IRS-1 is a direct physiologic substrate of the insulin receptor and may play an important role in insulin signal transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22662-22672
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number31
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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