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Activation of hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) is commonly observed in chronic liver disease and Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays a crucial role in the expansion of HPCs. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the liver, especially in HPCs, remain largely elusive. Here, we reported that ectopic expression of Smad6 suppressed the proliferation and self-renewal of WB-F344 cells, a HPC cell line. Mechanistically, we found that Smad6 inhibited Wnt/β-catenin signaling through promoting the interaction of C-terminal binding protein (CtBP) with β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF) complex to inhibit β-catenin mediated transcriptional activation in WB-F344 cells. We used siRNA targeting β-catenin to demonstrate that Wnt/β-catenin signaling was required for the proliferation and self-renewal of HPCs. Taken together, these results suggest that Smad6 is a regulatory molecule which regulates the proliferation, self-renewal and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in HPCs.
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Angular head movements in vertebrates are detected by the three semicircular canals of the inner ear and their associated sensory tissues, the cristae. Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (Bmp4), a member of the Transforming growth factor family (TGF-beta), is conservatively expressed in the developing cristae in several species, including zebrafish, frog, chicken, and mouse. Using mouse models in which Bmp4 is conditionally deleted within the inner ear, as well as chicken models in which Bmp signaling is knocked down specifically in the cristae, we show that Bmp4 is essential for the formation of all three cristae and their associated canals. Our results indicate that Bmp4 does not mediate the formation of sensory hair and supporting cells within the cristae by directly regulating genes required for prosensory development in the inner ear such as Serrate1 (Jagged1 in mouse), Fgf10, and Sox2. Instead, Bmp4 most likely mediates crista formation by regulating Lmo4 and Msx1 in the sensory region and Gata3, p75Ngfr, and Lmo4 in the non-sensory region of the crista, the septum cruciatum. In the canals, Bmp2 and Dlx5 are regulated by Bmp4, either directly or indirectly. Mechanisms involved in the formation of sensory organs of the vertebrate inner ear are thought to be analogous to those regulating sensory bristle formation in Drosophila. Our results suggest that, in comparison to sensory bristles, crista formation within the inner ear requires an additional step of sensory and non-sensory fate specification.
The proepicardium (PE) migrates over the heart and forms the epicardium. A subset of these PE-derived cells undergoes epithelial-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) and gives rise to cardiac fibroblasts and components of the coronary vasculature. We report that transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) 1 and TGFbeta2 increase EMT in PE explants as measured by invasion into a collagen gel, loss of cytokeratin expression, and redistribution of ZO1. The type I TGFbeta receptors ALK2 and ALK5 are both expressed in the PE. However, only constitutively active (ca) ALK2 stimulates PE-derived epithelial cell activation, the first step in transformation, whereas caALK5 stimulates neither activation nor transformation in PE explants. Overexpression of Smad6, an inhibitor of ALK2 signaling, inhibits epithelial cell activation, whereas BMP7, a known ligand for ALK2, has no effect. These data demonstrate that TGFbeta stimulates transformation in the PE and suggest that ALK2 partially mediates this effect.
2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) occurs during both development and tumorigenesis. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) ligands signal EMT in the atrioventricular (AV) cushion of the developing heart, a critical step in valve formation. TGFbeta signals through a complex of type I and type II receptors. Several type I receptors exist although activin receptor-like kinase (ALK) 5 mediates the majority of TGFbeta signaling. Here, we demonstrate that ALK2 is sufficient to induce EMT in the heart. Both ALK2 and ALK5 are expressed throughout the heart with ALK2 expressed abundantly in endocardial cells of the outflow tract (OFT), ventricle, and AV cushion. Misexpression of constitutively active (ca) ALK2 in non-transforming ventricular endocardial cells induced EMT, while caALK5 did not, thus demonstrating that ALK2 activity alone is sufficient to stimulate EMT. Smad6, an inhibitor of Smad signaling downstream of ALK2, but not ALK5, inhibited EMT in AV cushion endocardial cells. These data suggest that ALK2 activation may stimulate EMT in the AV cushion and that Smad6 may act downstream of ALK2 to negatively regulate EMT.
BACKGROUND - Resistance to the growth inhibitory actions of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is common in human cancers. This resistance can be a result of decreased expression of TGF-beta receptors. Downregulation of c-Myc by TGF-beta is critical for TGF-beta-mediated growth inhibition. In this study we hypothesized that decreased TGF-beta receptor expression leads to reduced Smad signaling and overexpression of c-Myc in intestinal epithelial (RIE) and transformed intestinal epithelial cells (RIE-Tr) cells.
METHODS - RIE (TGF-beta-sensitive) and RIE-Tr (TGF-beta-resistant) cells were treated with and without fetal bovine serum and TGF-beta. Western blot analysis was performed to detect levels of c-Myc, Smad2, Smad4, and phosphorylated Smad2 in RIE and RIE-Tr cells. Smad complex formation was analyzed by immunoprecipitation-coupled Western blotting.
RESULTS - c-Myc is overexpressed in RIE-Tr cells. TGF-beta-mediated downregulation of c-Myc is abrogated in RIE-Tr cells. Smad expression and activation is normal in RIE-Tr cells. We found that Smad2, Smad4, and Smad6 expression remained constant in RIE and RIE-Tr cells with or without serum or TGF-beta treatment. In addition, TGF-beta induced similar Smad2 phosphorylation and Smad complex formation in both RIE and RIE-Tr cells.
CONCLUSIONS - Our data demonstrate that Smad signaling is preserved in the face of decreased TGF-beta receptor levels. We also demonstrate that Smad signaling is not sufficient for TGF-beta-mediated c-Myc repression.
Smad proteins play a key role in the intracellular signaling of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) superfamily of extracellular polypeptides that initiate signaling from the cell surface through serine/threonine kinase receptors. A subclass of Smad proteins, including Smad6 and Smad7, has been shown to function as intracellular antagonists of TGF-beta family signaling. We have previously reported the identification of a WD40 repeat protein, STRAP, that associates with both type I and type II TGF-beta receptors and that is involved in TGF-beta signaling. Here we demonstrate that STRAP synergizes specifically with Smad7, but not with Smad6, in the inhibition of TGF-beta-induced transcriptional responses. STRAP does not show cooperation with a C-terminal deletion mutant of Smad7 that does not bind with the receptor and consequently has no inhibitory activity. STRAP associates stably with Smad7, but not with the Smad7 mutant. STRAP recruits Smad7 to the activated type I receptor and forms a complex. Moreover, STRAP stabilizes the association between Smad7 and the activated receptor, thus assisting Smad7 in preventing Smad2 and Smad3 access to the receptor. STRAP interacts with Smad2 and Smad3 but does not cooperate functionally with these Smads to transactivate TGF-beta-dependent transcription. The C terminus of STRAP is required for its phosphorylation in vivo, which is dependent on the TGF-beta receptor kinases. Thus, we describe a mechanism to explain how STRAP and Smad7 function synergistically to block TGF-beta-induced transcriptional activation.