Commun Biol 4 (1) 90 [2021-01-19; online 2021-01-19]
Leucine-rich repeats and immunoglobulin-like domains (LRIG) proteins have been implicated as regulators of growth factor signaling; however, the possible redundancy among mammalian LRIG1, LRIG2, and LRIG3 has hindered detailed elucidation of their physiological functions. Here, we show that Lrig-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) are deficient in adipogenesis and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling. In contrast, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) and receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling appeared unaltered in Lrig-null cells. The BMP signaling defect was rescued by ectopic expression of LRIG1 or LRIG3 but not by expression of LRIG2. Caenorhabditis elegans with mutant LRIG/sma-10 variants also exhibited a lipid storage defect. Human LRIG1 variants were strongly associated with increased body mass index (BMI) yet protected against type 2 diabetes; these effects were likely mediated by altered adipocyte morphology. These results demonstrate that LRIG proteins function as evolutionarily conserved regulators of lipid metabolism and BMP signaling and have implications for human disease.