IGF-I induces alpha(1B)-adrenoceptor (alpha(1B)-AR) phosphorylation. The effect of IGF-I was rapid and transient, reaching near-maximal values at 10 min and decreasing after 30 min; it was observed at low IGF-I concentrations (EC(50) approximately 10 ng/ml) and was associated to receptor desensitization as evidenced by a decreased alpha(1B)-adrenergic effect on intracellular calcium and production of inositol phosphates. The effect of IGF-I was markedly decreased in cells treated with pertussis toxin suggesting involvement of pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins. Transfection of the carboxyl terminus of the beta-adrenergic receptor kinase or the Deltap85 mutant of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) markedly decreased the alpha(1B)-AR phosphorylation induced by IGF-I without decreasing the receptor phosphorylation induced by noradrenaline. Inhibitors of PI3K and protein kinase C blocked IGF-I-induced alpha(1B)-AR phosphorylation. In addition, it was observed that AG1478, an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor kinase, and BB-94, a metalloproteinase inhibitor, also diminished IGF-I-induced adrenoceptor phosphorylation. The data clearly show that IGF-I triggers a complex signaling pathway, which leads to the phosphorylation and desensitization of a serpentine G protein-coupled receptor, suggesting the following hypothetical model: 1) stimulation of IGF-I receptors activate pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins; 2) the growth factor action activates metalloproteinases, which catalyze heparin binding-EGF shedding, and transactivation of EGF receptors, and 3) dissociated Gbetagamma subunits and phosphotyrosine residues seem to trigger PI3K activity, which leads to activation of protein kinase C, resulting in alpha(1B)-AR phosphorylation and desensitization.