The gene encoding the Insulin-like Growth Factor 2 mRNA binding protein 2/IMP2 is amplified and overexpressed in many human cancers, accompanied by a poorer prognosis. Mice lacking IMP2 exhibit a longer lifespan and a reduced tumor burden at old age. Herein we show in a diverse array of human cancer cells that IMP2 overexpression stimulates and IMP2 elimination diminishes proliferation by 50-80%. In addition to its known ability to promote the abundance of Insulin-like Growth Factor 2/IGF2, we find that IMP2 strongly promotes IGF action, by binding and stabilizing the mRNA encoding the DNA binding protein HMGA1, a known oncogene. HMGA1 suppresses the abundance of IGF binding protein 2/IGFBP2 and Grb14, inhibitors of IGF action. IMP2 stabilization of HMGA1 mRNA plus IMP2 stimulated IGF2 production synergistically drive cancer cell proliferation and account for IMP2's tumor promoting action. IMP2's ability to promote proliferation and IGF action requires IMP2 phosphorylation by mTOR.
hIAPP fibrils are associated with Type-II Diabetes, but the link of hIAPP structure to islet cell death remains elusive. Here we observe that hIAPP fibrils are cytotoxic to cultured pancreatic β-cells, leading us to determine the structure and cytotoxicity of protein segments composing the amyloid spine of hIAPP. Using the cryoEM method MicroED, we discover that one segment, 19-29 S20G, forms pairs of β-sheets mated by a dry interface that share structural features with and are similarly cytotoxic to full-length hIAPP fibrils. In contrast, a second segment, 15-25 WT, forms non-toxic labile β-sheets. These segments possess different structures and cytotoxic effects, however, both can seed full-length hIAPP, and cause hIAPP to take on the cytotoxic and structural features of that segment. These results suggest that protein segment structures represent polymorphs of their parent protein and that segment 19-29 S20G may serve as a model for the toxic spine of hIAPP.