Stanniocalcin-2 Inhibits Mammalian Growth by Proteolytic Inhibition of the Insulin-like Growth Factor Axis [Metabolism]

December 22nd, 2014 by Jepsen, M. R., Kloverpris, S., Mikkelsen, J. H., Pedersen, J. H., Fuchtbauer, E.-M., Laursen, L. S., Oxvig, C.

Mammalian stanniocalcin-2 (STC2) is a secreted polypeptide widely expressed in developing and adult tissues. However, although transgenic expression in mice is known to cause severe dwarfism, and targeted deletion of STC2 causes increased postnatal growth, its precise biological role has remained unknown. We found that STC2 potently inhibits the proteolytic activity of the growth-promoting metalloproteinase, pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A). Proteolytic inhibition requires covalent binding of STC2 to PAPP-A, and is mediated by a disulfide bond, which involves Cys120 of STC2. Binding of STC2 prevents PAPP-A cleavage of insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP)-4 and hence release within tissues of bioactive IGF, required for normal growth. Concordantly, we show that STC2 efficiently inhibits PAPP-A-mediated IGF receptor signaling in vitro, and that transgenic mice expressing a mutated variant of STC2, STC2(C120A), which is unable to inhibit PAPP-A, grow like wild-type mice. Our work identifies STC2 as a novel proteinase inhibitor and a previously unrecognized extracellular component of the IGF system.