Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) is known to synergistically stimulate the proliferation of hematopoietic cells in combination with other hematopoietic growth factors. However, the precise mechanism underlying the cooperative effects of IGF-I is unknown. In a human interleukin-3 or erythropoietin (EPO)-dependent cell line, F-36P, IGF-I alone failed to stimulate DNA synthesis but did augment the EPO-dependent DNA synthesis of F- 36P cells. The treatment of F-36P cells with a combination of EPO and IGF-I (EPO/IGF-I) was found to enhance EPO-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT5, whereas IGF-I alone did not. Furthermore, c-CIS mRNA expression, one of the target molecules of STAT5, was more effectively induced by EPO/IGF-I than by EPO alone. To examine the mechanisms of the EPO- and EPO/IGF-I- induced proliferation of F-36P cells, we expressed dominant negative (dn) mutants of STAT5 and Ras in an inducible system. The EPO-induced DNA synthesis and the cooperative effect of EPO/IGF-I were significantly inhibited by the inducible expression of dn-STAT5 or dn-Ras. In addition, the inducible expression of dn-Ras abolished the IGF-I-enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT5. These results suggest that IGF-I may augment EPO- induced proliferation by enhancing tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT5 and raise the possibility that Ras may be involved in the augmentation of STAT5 tyrosyl phosphorylation.
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