The superfamily of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding proteins include the six high-affinity IGF binding proteins (IGFBP) and at least four additional low-affinity binding proteins referred to as IGFBP related proteins (IGFBP-rP). All IGFBP superfamily members are cysteine-rich proteins with conserved cysteine residues, which are clustered in the amino- and carboxy-terminal thirds of the molecule. IGFBPs modulate the biological activities of IGF proteins. Some IGFBPs may also have intrinsic bioactivity that is independent of their ability to bind IGF proteins. Post-translational modifications of IGFBPs, including glycosylation, phosphorylation and proteolysis, have been shown to modify the affinities of the binding proteins to IGF.
Mouse IGFBP-3 cDNA encodes a 291 amino acid (aa) residue precursor protein with a putative 27 aa residue signal peptide that is processed to generate the 264 aa residue mature protein with three potential N-linked glycosylation sites. Mouse and human IGFBP-3 share 81% amino acid homology. Mouse IGFBP-3 is expressed in multiple tissues (Schuller, A.G.P. et al., 1994, Mol. Cell. Endoc. 104:57 - 66).