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Signalling through the type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) interacts with canonical Wnt signalling to promote neural proliferation in developing brain

Author(s): Qichen Hu | Seong Yong Lee | John R O'Kusky | Ping Ye

Journal: ASN Neuro
ISSN 1759-0914

Volume: 4;
Issue: 5;
Start page: e00092;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: β-catenin | central nervous system (CNS) | insulin-like growth factor (IGF) | type 1 IGF receptor (IGF1R) | signalling | Wnt

Signalling through the IGF1R [type 1 IGF (insulin-like growth factor) receptor] and canonical Wnt signalling are two signalling pathways that play critical roles in regulating neural cell generation and growth. To determine whether the signalling through the IGF1R can interact with the canonical Wnt signalling pathway in neural cells in vivo, we studied mutant mice with altered IGF signalling. We found that in mice with blunted IGF1R expression specifically in nestin-expressing neural cells (IGF1RNestin−KO mice) the abundance of neural β-catenin was significantly reduced. Blunting IGF1R expression also markedly decreased: (i) the activity of a LacZ (β-galactosidase) reporter transgene that responds to Wnt nuclear signalling (LacZTCF reporter transgene) and (ii) the number of proliferating neural precursors. In contrast, overexpressing IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor I) in brain markedly increased the activity of the LacZTCF reporter transgene. Consistently, IGF-I treatment also markedly increased the activity of the LacZTCF reporter transgene in embryonic neuron cultures that are derived from LacZTCF Tg (transgenic) mice. Importantly, increasing the abundance of β-catenin in IGF1RNestin−KO embryonic brains by suppressing the activity of GSK3β (glycogen synthase kinase-3β) significantly alleviated the phenotypic changes induced by IGF1R deficiency. These phenotypic changes includes: (i) retarded brain growth, (ii) reduced precursor proliferation and (iii) decreased neuronal number. Our current data, consistent with our previous study of cultured oligodendrocytes, strongly support the concept that IGF signalling interacts with canonical Wnt signalling in the developing brain to promote neural proliferation. The interaction of IGF and canonical Wnt signalling plays an important role in normal brain development by promoting neural precursor proliferation.
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