Endogenous cathepsin D-mediated hydrolysis of insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins in cultured human prostatic carcinoma cells

Cheryl A. Conover, Jaime E. Perry, Donald J. Tindall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) seems to play an important role in prostate cell growth and its actions may be modified by IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) secreted by prostate epithelial cells. The IGFBP system was studied in two human prostate carcinoma cell lines, PC3 and LNCaP. Androgen receptor-negative PC3 cells secrete IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4, and IGFBP-5, as determined by immunoprecipitation of the serum-free conditioned medium with specific IGFBP antibodies. Androgen receptor-positive LNCaP cells secrete IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3. At neutral pH, there was little or no effect of a 24-h, 37 C cell-free incubation of PC3 and LNCaP conditioned media on IGFBP. On the other hand, when media was incubated at pH 3 for 24 h, [125I]IGFBP-3 hydrolysis and the virtual elimination of endogenous IGFBP detected by Western ligand blotting were observed. This loss was not due to the acid treatment, per se, since IGFBPs remained intact if the incubation at pH 3 was carried out at 4 C. The acid-activated IGFBP protease in LNCaP and PC3 cell-conditioned media was identified as cathepsin D based on acidic pH optimum and immunoblotting. Furthermore, immunoadsorption of cathepsin D from the media attenuated the acid-activated IGFBP hydrolysis [125I]IGF-I binding to prostate cancer cells was reduced in the presence of LNCaP conditioned media that had been incubated at neutral pH for 24 h (i.e. containing intact IGFBP) but not by acid-incubated conditioned media (i.e. cathepsin D-mediated hydrolyzed IGFBP). These data indicate that prostate carcinoma cells secrete specific IGFBPs, as well as a general IGFBP protease, cathepsin D. In the proper environment, cathepsin D is capable of hydrolyzing all endogenous IGFBP and, thus, modifying IGF-I action in prostatic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-993
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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