Minireview: Nuclear insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptors: A novel paradigm in signal transduction

Rive Sarfstein, Haim Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The specificity of the insulin receptor (InsR) and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) signaling pathways has been the focus of significant debate over the past few years. Recent evidence showing nuclear import and a direct transcriptional role for both InsR and IGF1R adds a new layer of complexity to this dialog. Hence, in addition to the classical roles associated with cell-surface receptors (eg, ligand binding, autophosphorylation of the tyrosine kinase domain, activation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) and additional substrates, protein-protein interactions with membrane and cytoplasm components), new data are consistent with nuclear (genomic) role(s) for both InsR and IGF1R. The present review provides a brief overview of the physical and functional similarities and differences between InsR and IGF1R and describes data from a number of laboratories providing evidence for a new layer of signaling regulation (ie, the ability of InsR and IGF1R to translocate to the cell nucleus and to elicit genomic activities usually associated with transcription factors). The ability of InsR and IGF1R to function as transcription factors, although poorly understood, constitutes a new paradigm in signal transduction. Although research on the role of nuclear InsR/IGF1R is still in its infancy, we believe that this rapidly developing area may have a major basic and translational impact on the fields of metabolism, diabetes, and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1672-1679
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2013


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