Analysis of the cellular uptake and nuclear delivery of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 in human osteosarcoma cells

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Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) regulates cell proliferation and survival by extracellular interaction and inactivation of the growth factor IGF-I. Beyond that, IGF-independent actions mediated by intracellular IGFBP-3 including nuclear-IGFBP-3, have also been described. We here show, using both confocal and electron microscopy and cell fractionation, that the extracellular addition of IGFBP-3 to living cells results in rapid uptake and nuclear delivery of IGFBP-3, by yet partly unknown mechanisms. IGFBP-3 is internalized through a dynamin-dependent pathway, traffics through endocytic compartments and is finally delivered into the nucleus. We observed docking of IGFBP-3 containing structures to the nuclear envelope and found IGFBP-3 containing dot-like structures to permeate the nuclear envelope. In summary, our findings establish the pathway by which this tumor suppressor protein is delivered from extracellular space to the nucleus.

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