Membrane glycoprotein PC-1 inhibition of insulin receptor function occurs via direct interaction with the receptor alpha-subunit.
Plasma cell membrane glycoprotein-1 (PC-1) inhibits insulin receptor (IR) tyrosine kinase activity and subsequent cellular signaling. PC-1 content is elevated in fibroblasts, muscle, and adipose tissue from insulin-resistant subjects, and its elevation correlates with in vivo insulin resistance. In vitro, when PC-1 is transfected and overexpressed in cultured cells, it inhibits IR tyrosine kinase activity. To determine the mechanism whereby PC-1 regulates the IR, we studied how PC-1 interacts with this protein. Overexpression of PC-1 in MCF-7 cells inhibited tyrosine kinase activity of the IR, but not of the IGF-I receptor. When the IR was immunocaptured by specific IR monoclonal antibodies, PC-1 was associated with this receptor. In contrast, after specific immunocapture, PC-1 was not associated with the IGF-I receptor. We next studied HTC cells that were overexpressing an IR alpha-subunit mutant. This IR mutant binds insulin but has a deletion in the tyrosine kinase regulatory domain located in amino acids 485-599. In contrast to normal IRs, PC-1 did not associate with this mutant and did not affect tyrosine kinase activity. To determine whether decreasing PC-1 expression would reverse the inhibition of tyrosine kinase activity, we treated MCF-7 cells overexpressing PC-1 with a monoclonal antibody to PC-1. This treatment decreased PC-1 levels; concomitantly, IR tyrosine kinase activity increased. In contrast, IGF-I receptor tyrosine kinase activity was not increased. These studies indicate, therefore, that PC-1 may inhibit the IR by interacting directly with a specific region in the IR alpha-subunit. These studies also raise the possibility that monoclonal antibodies to PC-1 could be a new treatment for insulin resistance.