The LRIG family: enigmatic regulators of growth factor receptor signaling

    1. Colleen Sweeney
    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of California Davis School of Medicine, 4645 2nd Avenue, Sacramento, California 95817, USA
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to C Sweeney; Email: casweeney{at}


    The leucine-rich repeats and immunoglobulin-like domains (LRIG) family of transmembrane proteins contains three vertebrate members (LRIG1, LRIG2 and LRIG3) and one member each in flies (Lambik) and worms (Sma-10). LRIGs have stepped into the spotlight as essential regulators of growth factor receptors, including receptor tyrosine and serine/threonine kinases. LRIGs have been found to both negatively (LRIG1 and LRIG3) and positively (Sma-10 and LRIG3) regulate growth factor receptor expression and signaling, although the precise molecular mechanisms by which LRIGs function are not yet understood. The most is known about LRIG1, which was recently demonstrated to be a tumor suppressor. Indeed, in vivo experiments reinforce the essential link between LRIG1 and repression of its targets for tissue homeostasis. LRIG1 has also been identified as a stem cell marker and regulator of stem cell quiescence in a variety of tissues, discussed within. Comparably, less is known about LRIG2 and LRIG3, although studies to date suggest that their functions are largely distinct from that of LRIG1 and that they likely do not serve as growth/tumor suppressors. Finally, the translational applications of expressing soluble forms of LRIG1 in LRIG1-deficient tumors are being explored and hold tremendous promise.

    • Revision received 12 August 2014
    • Accepted 1 September 2014
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 2 September 2014
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