Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding proteins (BPs) bind IGF-I and IGF-II with high affinity and modify the activity of IGF peptides in a complex manner. We have characterized the affinities of IGFBP-1-4 for IGF-I and -II by employing 1) purified IGFBP preparations, 2) both [125I]IGF-I and [125I]IGF-II as radioligands, and 3) multiple IGF analogs designed to have altered affinities for IGFBPs. To this end, human (h) IGFBP-1, hIGFBP-2, and rat (r) IGFBP-4 have been purified to homogeneity from human amniotic fluid, human prostate epithelial cell culture, and B104 rat neuroblastoma cells; for human IGFBP-3, the glycosylated recombinant form (rec-hIGFBP-3), produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells, was employed. The IC50 values of IGF-I for hIGFBP-1, hIGFBP-2, rec-hIGFBP-3, rIGFBP-4, and human serum IGFBPs were 0.05 ± 0.01, 5.0 ± 0.01, 0.25 ± 0.20, 0.6 ± 0.4, and 0.1 ± 0.01 ng/ml, respectively. While hIGFBP-1 and rlGFBP-4 had virtually equivalent affinities for IGF-I and IGF-II, hIGFBP-2 and rec-hIGFBP-3 demonstrated 2- to 5-fold higher affinities for IGF-II than for IGF-I. Studies with [Gln3, Ala4, Tyr15, Leu16]IGF-I and Des-(l-3)-IGF-I indicate that specific residues in the first 16 amino acids of the B domain of IGF-I appear to be critical for binding to all of the IGFBPs tested, but not to IGF receptors. However, severe modifications in the B domain disrupt binding affinity, not only for IGFBPs, but also for receptors (IGF-I/insulin hybrid and B-chain mutant). Interestingly, modifications in the A domain of IGF-I, which is believed to contain residues critical for binding to IGF-I and insulin receptors, show differential effects on binding affinity to BPs. [Thr49, Ser50, Ile51]IGF-I, which has normal affinity for the type I IGF receptor, shows at least a 500-fold decreased affinity for hIGFBP-1 and recombinant hIGFBP-3, in contrast to 50- to 100-fold reduced affinity for hIGFBP-2 and rIGFBP-4, and 5- to 10-fold reduced affinity for purified human serum IGFBP-3. More significantly, [l-27, GIy4, 38-70]IGF-I shows a 30-fold decreased affinity for the type I IGF receptor and 10- and 2.5-fold reduced affinities for hIGFBP-1 and rec-hIGFBP-3, respectively, but no reduction in affinity for hIGFBP-2 or rIGFBP-4. In general, however, modifications of IGF-I that altered IGF affinity for IGFBPs, tended to effect binding to all IGFBPs tested. These data indicate that residues critical to binding of IGF peptides to IGFBP-3, the major serum carrier protein for IGF, are also critical for binding to IGFBP-1, -2, and -4. These findings are consistent with the conservation of a common three-dimensional structure among IGFBP-1-4.
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