Gene Summary

Gene:TGFBR1; transforming growth factor, beta receptor 1
Aliases: AAT5, ALK5, ESS1, LDS1, MSSE, SKR4, ALK-5, LDS1A, LDS2A, TGFR-1, ACVRLK4, tbetaR-I
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene forms a heteromeric complex with type II TGF-beta receptors when bound to TGF-beta, transducing the TGF-beta signal from the cell surface to the cytoplasm. The encoded protein is a serine/threonine protein kinase. Mutations in this gene have been associated with Loeys-Dietz aortic aneurysm syndrome (LDAS). Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:TGF-beta receptor type-1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 27 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: TGFBR1 (cancer-related)

Wang Y, Wu J, Lin B, et al.
Galangin suppresses HepG2 cell proliferation by activating the TGF-β receptor/Smad pathway.
Toxicology. 2014; 326:9-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
Galangin can suppress hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell proliferation. In this study, we demonstrated that galangin induced autophagy by activating the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β receptor/Smad pathway and increased TGF-β receptor I (RI), TGF-βRII, Smad1, Smad2, Smad3 and Smad4 levels but decreased Smad6 and Smad7 levels. Autophagy induced by galangin appears to depend on the TGF-β receptor/Smad signalling pathway because the down-regulation of Smad4 by siRNA or inhibition of TGF-β receptor activation by LY2109761 blocked galangin-induced autophagy. The down-regulation of Beclin1, autophagy-related gene (ATG) 16L, ATG12 and ATG3 restored HepG2 cell proliferation and prevented galangin-induced apoptosis. Our findings indicate a novel mechanism for galangin-induced autophagy via activation of the TGF-β receptor/Smad pathway. The induction of autophagy thus reflects the anti-proliferation effect of galangin on HCC cells.

Khalkhali-Ellis Z, Kirschmann DA, Seftor EA, et al.
Divergence(s) in nodal signaling between aggressive melanoma and embryonic stem cells.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(5):E242-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
The significant role of the embryonic morphogen Nodal in maintaining the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells is well documented. Interestingly, the recent discovery of Nodal's re-expression in several aggressive and metastatic cancers has highlighted its critical role in self renewal and maintenance of the stem cell-like characteristics of tumor cells, such as melanoma. However, the key TGFβ/Nodal signaling component(s) governing Nodal's effects in metastatic melanoma remain mostly unknown. By employing receptor profiling at the mRNA and protein level(s), we made the novel discovery that embryonic stem cells and metastatic melanoma cells share a similar repertoire of Type I serine/threonine kinase receptors, but diverge in their Type II receptor expression. Ligand:receptor crosslinking and native gel binding assays indicate that metastatic melanoma cells employ the heterodimeric TGFβ receptor I/TGFβ receptor II (TGFβRI/TGFβRII) for signal transduction, whereas embryonic stem cells use the Activin receptors I and II (ACTRI/ACTRII). This unexpected receptor usage by tumor cells was tested by: neutralizing antibody to block its function; and transfecting the dominant negative receptor to compete with the endogenous receptor for ligand binding. Furthermore, a direct biological role for TGFβRII was found to underlie vasculogenic mimicry (VM), an endothelial phenotype contributing to vascular perfusion and associated with the functional plasticity of aggressive melanoma. Collectively, these findings reveal the divergence in Nodal signaling between embryonic stem cells and metastatic melanoma that can impact new therapeutic strategies targeting the re-emergence of embryonic pathways.

Liang Q, Yao X, Tang S, et al.
Integrative identification of Epstein-Barr virus-associated mutations and epigenetic alterations in gastric cancer.
Gastroenterology. 2014; 147(6):1350-62.e4 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The mechanisms by which Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) contributes to the development of gastric cancer are unclear. We investigated EBV-associated genomic and epigenomic variations in gastric cancer cells and tumors.
METHODS: We performed whole-genome, transcriptome, and epigenome sequence analyses of a gastric adenocarcinoma cell line (AGS cells), before and after EBV infection. We then looked for alterations in gastric tumor samples, with (n = 34) or without (n = 100) EBV infection, collected from patients at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Chinese University of Hong Kong (from 1998 through 2004), or the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China (from 1999 through 2006).
RESULTS: Transcriptome analysis showed that infected cells expressed 9 EBV genes previously detected in EBV-associated gastric tumors and 71 EBV genes not previously reported in gastric tumors. Ten viral genes that had not been reported previously in gastric cancer but were expressed most highly in EBV-infected cells also were expressed in primary EBV-positive gastric tumors. Whole-genome sequence analysis identified 45 EBV-associated nonsynonymous mutations. These mutations, in genes such as AKT2, CCNA1, MAP3K4, and TGFBR1, were associated significantly with EBV-positive gastric tumors, compared with EBV-negative tumors. An activating mutation in AKT2 was associated with reduced survival times of patients with EBV-positive gastric cancer (P = .006); this mutation was found to dysregulate mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Integrated epigenome and transcriptome analyses identified 216 genes transcriptionally down-regulated by EBV-associated hypermethylation; methylation of ACSS1, FAM3B, IHH, and TRABD increased significantly in EBV-positive tumors. Overexpression of Indian hedgehog (IHH) and TraB domain containing (TRABD) increased proliferation and colony formation of gastric cancer cells, whereas knockdown of these genes reduced these activities. We found 5 signaling pathways (axon guidance, focal adhesion formation, interactions among cytokines and receptors, mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling, and actin cytoskeleton regulation) to be affected commonly by EBV-associated genomic and epigenomic alterations.
CONCLUSIONS: By using genomic, transcriptome, and epigenomic comparisons of EBV infected vs noninfected gastric cancer cells and tumor samples, we identified alterations in genes, gene expression, and methylation that affect different signaling networks. These might be involved in EBV-associated gastric carcinogenesis.

Liu C, Li J, Xiang X, et al.
PDGF receptor-α promotes TGF-β signaling in hepatic stellate cells via transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of TGF-β receptors.
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2014; 307(7):G749-59 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling are required for hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation under pathological conditions such as liver metastatic tumor growth. These two signaling pathways are functionally divergent; PDGF signaling promotes proliferation and migration of HSCs, and TGF-β induces transdifferentiation of quiescent HSCs into myofibroblasts. Although PDGF signaling is implicated in TGF-β-mediated epithelial mesenchymal transition of tumor cells, the role of PDGF receptors in TGF-β activation of HSCs has not been investigated. Here we report that PDGF receptor-α (PDGFR-α) is required for TGF-β signaling of cultured human HSCs although HSCs express both PDGF-α and -β receptors. PDGFR-α knockdown inhibits TGF-β-induced phosphorylation and nuclear accumulation of SMAD2 with no influence on AKT or ERK phosphorylation associated with noncanonical TGF-β signaling. PDGFR-α knockdown suppresses TGF-β receptor I (TβRI) but increases TβRII gene transcription. At the protein level, PDGFR-α is recruited to TβRI/TβRII complexes by TGF-β stimulation. PDGFR-α knockdown blocks TGF-β-mediated internalization of TβRII and induces accumulation of TβRII at the plasma membrane, thereby inhibiting TGF-β phosphorylation of SMAD2. Functionally, knockdown of PDGFR-α reduces paracrine effects of HSCs on colorectal cancer cell proliferation and migration in vitro. In mice and patients, colorectal cancer cell invasion of the liver induces upregulation of PDGFR-α of HSCs. In summary, our finding that PDGFR-α knockdown inhibits SMAD-dependent TGF-β signaling by repressing TβRI transcriptionally and blocking endocytosis of TGF-β receptors highlights a convergence of PDGF and TGF-β signaling for HSC activation and PDGFR-α as a therapeutic target for liver metastasis and other settings of HSC activation.

Liszka L
Ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas usually retained SMAD4 and p53 protein status as well as expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers and cell cycle regulators at the stage of liver metastasis.
Pol J Pathol. 2014; 65(2):100-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
There are limited data on the biology of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The aim of the present study was to compare the expression of immunohistochemical markers that may be involved in the development of metastatic disease in primary PDAC and in synchronous liver metastatic tissues. Thirty-two stains (corresponding to proteins encoded by 31 genes: SMAD4, TP53, ACTA2, CDH1, CDKN1A, CLDN1, CLDN4, CLDN7, CTNNB1, EGFR, ERBB2, FN1, KRT19, MAPK1/MAPK3, MAPK14, MKI67, MMP2, MMP9, MUC1 (3 antibodies), MUC5AC, MUC6, MTOR, MYC, NES, PTGS2, RPS6, RPS6KB1, TGFB1, TGFBR1, VIM) were evaluated using tissue microarray of 26 pairs of primary PDACs and their liver metastases. There were no significant differences in expression levels of examined proteins between primary and secondary lesions. In particular, metastatic PDAC retained the primary tumour's SMAD4 protein status in all and p53 protein status in all but one case. This surprising homogeneity also involved expression levels of markers of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition as well as cell cycle regulators studied. In conclusion, the biological profiles of primary PDACs and their liver metastases seemed to be similar. Molecular alterations of PDAC related to a set of immunohistochemical markers examined in the present study were already present at the stage of localized disease.

Feng AP, He YM, Liu XX, et al.
Expression of USP15, TβR-I and Smad7 in psoriasis.
J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2014; 34(3):415-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The deubiquitinating enzyme ubiquitin specific peptidase 15 (USP15) is regarded as a regulator of TGFβ signaling pathway. This process depends on Smad7, the inhibitory factor of the TGFβ signal, and type I TGFβ receptor (TβR-I), one of the receptors of TGFβ. The expression level of USP15 seems to play vital roles in the pathogenesis of many neoplasms, but so far there has been no report about USP15 in psoriasis. In this study, immunohistochemical staining of USP15, TβR-I and Smad7 was performed in 30 paraffin-embedded psoriasis specimens and 10 normal specimens to investigate the expression of USP15, TβR-I and Smad7 in psoriasis and to explore the relevance among them. And USP15 small interfering RNA (USP15 siRNA) was used to transfect Hacat cells to detect the mRNA expression of TβR-I and Smad7. Of 30 cases of psoriasis in active stage, 28, 24 and 26 cases were positive for USP15, TβR-I and Smad7 staining, respectively. The positive rates of USP15 and Smad7 were significantly higher in psoriasis specimens than in normal skin specimens (44.1%±26.0% vs. 6.1%±6.6%, 47.2%±27.1% vs. 6.6%±7.1%), and positive rate of TβR-I (20.3%±22.2%) in psoriasis was lower than that in normal skin specimens (46.7%±18.2%). There was a significant positive correlation between USP15 and Smad7 expression, and significant negative correlations between USP15 and TβR-expression, an I d between TβR- and Smad7 expression I in psoriasis. After transfection of USP15 siRNA in Hacat cells, the expression of TβR-mRNA was up I -regulated and that of Smad7 was down-regulated. It is concluded that USP15 may play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis through regulating the TβR-I/Smad7 pathway and there may be other cell signaling pathways interacting with USP15 to take part in the development of psoriasis.

Jin M, Zhang T, Liu C, et al.
miRNA-128 suppresses prostate cancer by inhibiting BMI-1 to inhibit tumor-initiating cells.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(15):4183-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
microRNA-128 (miR128) is reduced in prostate cancer relative to normal/benign prostate tissues, but causal roles are obscure. Here we show that exogenously introduced miR128 suppresses tumor regeneration in multiple prostate cancer xenograft models. Cancer stem-like cell (CSC)-associated properties were blocked, including holoclone and sphere formation as well as clonogenic survival. Using a miR128 sensor to distinguish cells on the basis of miR128 expression, we found that miR128-lo cells possessed higher clonal, clonogenic, and tumorigenic activities than miR128-hi cells. miR128 targets the stem cell regulatory factors BMI-1, NANOG, and TGFBR1, the expression of which we found to vary inversely with miR128 expression in prostate cancer stem/progenitor cell populations. In particular, we defined BMI-1 as a direct and functionally relevant target of miR128 in prostate cancer cells, where these genes were reciprocally expressed and exhibited opposing biological functions. Our results define a tumor suppressor function for miR128 in prostate cancer by limiting CSC properties mediated by BMI-1 and other central stem cell regulators, with potential implications for prostate cancer gene therapy.

Park CY, Min KN, Son JY, et al.
An novel inhibitor of TGF-β type I receptor, IN-1130, blocks breast cancer lung metastasis through inhibition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 351(1):72-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
TGF-β signaling plays an important role in breast cancer progression and metastasis. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important step in the progression of solid tumors to metastatic disease. We previously reported that IN-1130, a novel transforming growth factor-β type I receptor kinase (ALK5) inhibitor, suppressed renal fibrosis in obstructive nephropathy (Moon et al., 2006). Here, we show that IN-1130 suppressed EMT and the lung metastasis of mammary tumors in mouse models. Treating human and mouse cell lines with IN-1130 inhibited TGF-β-mediated transcriptional activation, the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Smad2, and TGF-β-induced-EMT, which induces morphological changes in epithelial cells. Additionally, we demonstrated that IN-1130 blocked TGF-β-induced 4T1 mammary cancer cell migration and invasion. The TGF-β-mediated increase in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 expression was restored by IN-1130 co-treatment with TGF-β in human epithelial cells and in 4T1 cells. Furthermore, we found that lung metastasis from primary breast cancer was inhibited by IN-1130 in both 4T1-xenografted BALB/c mice and MMTV/c-Neu transgenic mice without any change in primary tumor volume. IN-1130 prolonged the life span of tumor-bearing mice. In summary, this study indicated that IN-1130 has therapeutic potential for preventing breast cancer metastasis to the lung.

Arase M, Horiguchi K, Ehata S, et al.
Transforming growth factor-β-induced lncRNA-Smad7 inhibits apoptosis of mouse breast cancer JygMC(A) cells.
Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(8):974-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β exhibits both pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic effects on epithelial cells in a context-dependent manner. The anti-apoptotic function of TGF-β is mediated by several downstream regulatory mechanisms, and has been implicated in the tumor-progressive phenotype of breast cancer cells. We conducted RNA sequencing of mouse mammary gland epithelial (NMuMG) cells and identified a long non-coding RNA, termed lncRNA-Smad7, which has anti-apoptotic functions, as a target of TGF-β. lncRNA-Smad7 was located adjacent to the mouse Smad7 gene, and its expression was induced by TGF-β in all of the mouse mammary gland epithelial cell lines and breast cancer cell lines that we evaluated. Suppression of lncRNA-Smad7 expression cancelled the anti-apoptotic function of TGF-β. In contrast, forced expression of lncRNA-Smad7 rescued apoptosis induced by a TGF-β type I receptor kinase inhibitor in the mouse breast cancer cell line JygMC(A). The anti-apoptotic effect of lncRNA-Smad7 appeared to occur independently of the transcriptional regulation by TGF-β of anti-apoptotic DEC1 and pro-apoptotic Bim proteins. Small interfering RNA for lncRNA-Smad7 did not alter the process of TGF-β-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition, phosphorylation of Smad2 or expression of the Smad7 gene, suggesting that the contribution of this lncRNA to TGF-β functions may be restricted to apoptosis. Our findings suggest a complex mechanism for regulating the anti-apoptotic and tumor-progressive aspects of TGF-β signaling.

Sung JY, Park SY, Kim JH, et al.
Interferon consensus sequence-binding protein (ICSBP) promotes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like phenomena, cell-motility, and invasion via TGF-β signaling in U2OS cells.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1224 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Interferon consensus sequence-binding protein (ICSBP) is a transcription factor induced by interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and a member of the interferon regulatory factor (IRF) family. ICSBP is predominantly expressed in hematopoietic cells and regulates the immune response and cell growth and differentiation. However, little is known about its function in non-hematopoietic cells. Here we show a novel function for ICSBP in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like phenomena (ELP), cell motility, and invasion in human osteosarcoma cell lines, including U2OS cells. IFN-γ treatment induced ICSBP expression and EMT-like morphological change in U2OS cells, which were suppressed by ICSBP knockdown. To further investigate the role of ICSBP in ELP, we established a stable U2OS cell line that overexpresses ICSBP. ICSBP expression caused U2OS cells to have a more elongated shape and an increased vimentin and fibronectin expression. ICSBP expression also promoted adhesiveness, motility, and invasiveness of U2OS cells. ICSBP upregulated transforming growth factor (TGF)-β receptors and activated TGF-β signaling cascades, which were responsible for ELP as well as increased cell motility and invasion. In addition, ICSBP-induced TGF-β receptor activation resulted in the upregulation of Snail. Knockdown of Snail attenuated the ICSBP-induced augmentation of cell motility and invasion. Upregulation of Snail, ELP, and increased invasion by ICSBP expression were also observed in other osteosarcoma cell lines, such as Saos-2 and 143B. Furthermore, ICSBP and TGF-β receptor I were expressed in 45/54 (84%) and 47/54 (87%) of human osteosarcoma tissues, respectively, and showed significant correlation (r=0.47, P=0.0007) with respect to their expression levels. Taken altogether, these data demonstrate a novel function for ICSBP in ELP, cell motility, and invasion through the TGF-β and Snail signaling pathways.

Wang LK, Hsiao TH, Hong TM, et al.
MicroRNA-133a suppresses multiple oncogenic membrane receptors and cell invasion in non-small cell lung carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(5):e96765 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) cause high mortality worldwide, and the cancer progression can be activated by several genetic events causing receptor dysregulation, including mutation or amplification. MicroRNAs are a group of small non-coding RNA molecules that function in gene silencing and have emerged as the fine-tuning regulators during cancer progression. MiR-133a is known as a key regulator in skeletal and cardiac myogenesis, and it acts as a tumor suppressor in various cancers. This study demonstrates that miR-133a expression negatively correlates with cell invasiveness in both transformed normal bronchial epithelial cells and lung cancer cell lines. The oncogenic receptors in lung cancer cells, including insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R), TGF-beta receptor type-1 (TGFBR1), and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), are direct targets of miR-133a. MiR-133a can inhibit cell invasiveness and cell growth through suppressing the expressions of IGF-1R, TGFBR1 and EGFR, which then influences the downstream signaling in lung cancer cell lines. The cell invasive ability is suppressed in IGF-1R- and TGFBR1-repressed cells and this phenomenon is mediated through AKT signaling in highly invasive cell lines. In addition, by using the in vivo animal model, we find that ectopically-expressing miR-133a dramatically suppresses the metastatic ability of lung cancer cells. Accordingly, patients with NSCLCs who have higher expression levels of miR-133a have longer survival rates compared with those who have lower miR-133a expression levels. In summary, we identified the tumor suppressor role of miR-133a in lung cancer outcome prognosis, and we demonstrated that it targets several membrane receptors, which generally produce an activating signaling network during the progression of lung cancer.

Charbonneau B, Moysich KB, Kalli KR, et al.
Large-scale evaluation of common variation in regulatory T cell-related genes and ovarian cancer outcome.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2014; 2(4):332-40 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
The presence of regulatory T cells (Treg) in solid tumors is known to play a role in patient survival in ovarian cancer and other malignancies. We assessed inherited genetic variations via 749 tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 25 Treg-associated genes (CD28, CTLA4, FOXP3, IDO1, IL10, IL10RA, IL15, 1L17RA, IL23A, IL23R, IL2RA, IL6, IL6R, IL8, LGALS1, LGALS9, MAP3K8, STAT5A, STAT5B, TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFB3, TGFBR1, TGRBR2, and TGFBR3) in relation to ovarian cancer survival. We analyzed genotype and overall survival in 10,084 women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, including 5,248 high-grade serous, 1,452 endometrioid, 795 clear cell, and 661 mucinous carcinoma cases of European descent across 28 studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). The strongest associations were found for endometrioid carcinoma and IL2RA SNPs rs11256497 [HR, 1.42; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.22-1.64; P = 5.7 × 10(-6)], rs791587 (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.17-1.57; P = 6.2 × 10(-5)), rs2476491 (HR, = 1.40; 95% CI, 1.19-1.64; P = 5.6 × 10(-5)), and rs10795763 (HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.17-1.57; P = 7.9 × 10(-5)), and for clear cell carcinoma and CTLA4 SNP rs231775 (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.54-0.82; P = 9.3 × 10(-5)) after adjustment for age, study site, population stratification, stage, grade, and oral contraceptive use. The rs231775 allele associated with improved survival in our study also results in an amino acid change in CTLA4 and previously has been reported to be associated with autoimmune conditions. Thus, we found evidence that SNPs in genes related to Tregs seem to play a role in ovarian cancer survival, particularly in patients with clear cell and endometrioid epithelial ovarian cancer.

Hong S, Noh H, Teng Y, et al.
SHOX2 is a direct miR-375 target and a novel epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition inducer in breast cancer cells.
Neoplasia. 2014; 16(4):279-90.e1-5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
MicroRNAs have added a new dimension to our understanding of tumorigenesis and associated processes like epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here, we show that miR-375 is elevated in epithelial-like breast cancer cells, and ectopic miR-375 expression suppresses EMT in mesenchymal-like breast cancer cells. We identified short stature homeobox 2 (SHOX2) as a miR-375 target, and miR-375-mediated suppression in EMT was reversed by forced SHOX2 expression. Ectopic SHOX2 expression can induce EMT in epithelial-like breast cancer cells, whereas SHOX2 knockdown diminishes EMT traits in mesenchymal-like breast cancer cells, demonstrating SHOX2 as an EMT inducer. We show that SHOX2 acts as a transcription factor to upregulate transforming growth factor β receptor I (TβR-I) expression, and TβR-I inhibitor LY364947 abolishes EMT elicited by ectopic SHOX2 expression, suggesting that transforming growth factor β signaling is essential for SHOX2-induced EMT. Manipulating SHOX2 abundance in breast cancer cells impact in vitro invasion and in vivo dissemination. Analysis of breast tumor microarray database revealed that high SHOX2 expression significantly correlates with poor patient survival. Our study supports a critical role of SHOX2 in breast tumorigenicity.

Liu LY, Huang WJ, Ho FM, et al.
N-Hydroxycinnamide derivatives of osthole inhibit cell migration and invasion by suppressing Smad2 and Akt pathways in human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells.
Chem Biol Interact. 2014; 217:1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 are new synthetic compounds developed based on the structure of the Chinese herbal medicine osthole. Previously, we reported that WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 can induce cell-cycle arrest by activating ATR kinase (ataxia telangiectasia and rad3 related kinase) and inhibiting the phosphorylation of Aurora A kinase. In this study, we determined that WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 strongly inhibited the migration and invasion in human colorectal cancer cells at concentrations as low as 1μM. In the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition model, WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 potently downregulated the transcription factor Snail1, the mesenchymal protein vimentin, and matrix metalloprotease-9, but upregulated the epithelial protein E-cadherin. WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 also inhibited the TGF-β-induced phosphorylation of Smad2 and of Akt at Ser 473, and the nuclear translocation of Smad2 was substantially lower in WJ1376-1- and WJ1398-1-treated cells than it was in control cells. In transient transfection experiments, we observed that WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 strongly inhibited TGF-β-stimulated activity of a Smad reporter. Finally, WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 blocked TGF-β-induced phosphorylation of the TGF-β Type I receptor (TGF-βRI). These results suggest that WJ1376-1 and WJ1398-1 inhibit cell migration and invasion by suppressing TGF-βRI phosphorylation and subsequently hindering both Smad2 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathways.

Cashman R, Cohen H, Ben-Hamo R, et al.
SENP5 mediates breast cancer invasion via a TGFβRI SUMOylation cascade.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(4):1071-82 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Identifying novel mechanisms, which are at the core of breast cancer biology, is of critical importance. Such mechanisms may explain response to treatment, reveal novel targets or drive detection assays. To uncover such novel mechanisms, we used survival analysis on gene expression datasets encompassing 1363 patients. By iterating over the compendia of genes, we screened for their significance as prognosis biomarkers and identified SUMO-specific protease 5 (SENP5) to significantly stratify patients into two survival groups across five unrelated tested datasets. According to these findings, low expression of SENP5 is associated with good prognosis among breast cancer patients. Following these findings, we analyzed SENP5 silencing and show it is followed by inhibition of anchorage-independence growth, proliferation, migration and invasion in breast cancer cell lines. We further show that these changes are conducted via regulation of TGFβRI levels. These data relate to recent reports about the SUMOylation of TGFβRI. Following TGFβRI changes in expression, we show that one of its target genes, MMP9, which plays a key role in degrading the extracellular matrix and contributes to TGFβ-induced invasion, is dramatically down regulated upon SENP5 silencing. This is the first report represents SENP5-TGFβ-MMP9 cascade and its mechanistic involvement in breast cancer.

Suresh Babu S, Valdez Y, Xu A, et al.
TGFβ-mediated suppression of CD248 in non-cancer cells via canonical Smad-dependent signaling pathways is uncoupled in cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:113 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: CD248 is a cell surface glycoprotein, highly expressed by stromal cells and fibroblasts of tumors and inflammatory lesions, but virtually undetectable in healthy adult tissues. CD248 promotes tumorigenesis, while lack of CD248 in mice confers resistance to tumor growth. Mechanisms by which CD248 is downregulated are poorly understood, hindering the development of anti-cancer therapies.
METHODS: We sought to characterize the molecular mechanisms by which CD248 is downregulated by surveying its expression in different cells in response to cytokines and growth factors.
RESULTS: Only transforming growth factor (TGFβ) suppressed CD248 protein and mRNA levels in cultured fibroblasts and vascular smooth muscle cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. TGFβ transcriptionally downregulated CD248 by signaling through canonical Smad2/3-dependent pathways, but not via mitogen activated protein kinases p38 or ERK1/2. Notably, cancer associated fibroblasts (CAF) and cancer cells were resistant to TGFβ mediated suppression of CD248.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that decoupling of CD248 regulation by TGFβ may contribute to its tumor-promoting properties, and underline the importance of exploring the TGFβ-CD248 signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target for early prevention of cancer and proliferative disorders.

Principe DR, Doll JA, Bauer J, et al.
TGF-β: duality of function between tumor prevention and carcinogenesis.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106(2):djt369 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Several mechanisms underlying tumor progression have remained elusive, particularly in relation to transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β). Although TGF-β initially inhibits epithelial growth, it appears to promote the progression of advanced tumors. Defects in normal TGF-β pathways partially explain this paradox, which can lead to a cascade of downstream events that drive multiple oncogenic pathways, manifesting as several key features of tumorigenesis (uncontrolled proliferation, loss of apoptosis, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, sustained angiogenesis, evasion of immune surveillance, and metastasis). Understanding the mechanisms of TGF-β dysregulation will likely reveal novel points of convergence between TGF-β and other pathways that can be specifically targeted for therapy.

Wang X, Gui L, Zhang Y, et al.
Cystatin B is a progression marker of human epithelial ovarian tumors mediated by the TGF-β signaling pathway.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(4):1099-106 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Advanced ovarian cancer is a devastating disease. Gaining biomarkers of early detection during ovarian tumorigenesis may lead to earlier diagnosis and better therapeutic strategies. Cystatin B (CSTB) functions as an inhibitor to suppress intracellular cysteine proteases and has been implicated in several types of cancers. The present study explored the expression of CSTB in human ovarian tumors, to investigate CSTB expression associated with clinicopathological features, and to examine the effect of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which plays a key role in ovarian tumorigenesis, on CSTB expression in ovarian cancer cells. The ovarian tissue samples from 33 patients were retrieved. The expression of CSTB in ovarian tissue was examined by immunohistochemistry. We found that CSTB was over-expressed in human ovarian surface epithelial tumors, including serous, mucinous and clear cell tumors. The immunoreactive staining of CSTB was strong in borderline and malignant tumors, weak in benign tumors, and negative in normal tissue counterparts, but was not correlated with the clinicopathological features of patients with ovarian tumors, such as age, histological types, tumor size, lymph node metastasis and clinical stages. The CSTB at mRNA and protein levels in two types of epithelial ovarian cancer cells, OVCAR-3 and SK-OV-3, was decreased after TGF-β1 treatment detected by quantitative PCR and western blot analysis, respectively. The inhibitory effect of TGF-β1 on CSTB expression was abolished in the presence of SB-431542, a TGF-β type I receptor kinase inhibitor. Our data suggest that CSTB is tumor tissue-specific and overexpressed in ovarian borderline and malignant tumors. The increased CSTB expression in ovarian tissue represents tumor progression and is dysregulated by the TGF-β signaling pathway. CSTB may become a novel diagnostic intracellular biomarker for the early detection of ovarian cancer.

Rao C, Lin SL, Ruan WJ, et al.
High expression of IGFBP7 in fibroblasts induced by colorectal cancer cells is co-regulated by TGF-β and Wnt signaling in a Smad2/3-Dvl2/3-dependent manner.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e85340 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Fibroblasts in the tumor microenvironment are a key determinant in cancer progression and may be a promising target for cancer therapy. Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) is known as a tumor suppressor in colorectal cancer (CRC). The present study investigated the inductive mechanism of IGFBP7 expression in fibroblasts by supernatant from the CRC cell line, SW620. The results showed that the expression of IGFBP7 was up-regulated in the fibroblasts when treated with SW620 supernatant and exogenous TGF-β1. The IGFBP7 induced by SW620 supernatant or TGF-β1 was partially inhibited by the TGF-β1 specific antibody AF and TGF-β1 receptor antagonist SB431542. The Wnt signaling-targeted genes, c-Myc, CCND1 and the proteins Dvl2/3, were all up-regulated in fibroblasts expressing high levels of IGFBP7, and the up-regulation could be inhibited both by the Wnt signaling antagonist Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) and by the TGF-β1 receptor antagonist SB431542. In conclusion, CRC cells promote the high expression of IGFBP7 in fibroblasts, most likely through the co-regulation of TGF-β and Wnt signaling in a Smad2/3-Dvl2/3 dependent manner. Taken together, these data suggest that the fibroblasts could be a novel therapeutic target in tumor therapy.

Ravindran A, Mohammed J, Gunderson AJ, et al.
Tumor-promoting role of TGFβ1 signaling in ultraviolet B-induced skin carcinogenesis is associated with cutaneous inflammation and lymph node migration of dermal dendritic cells.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(4):959-66 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) is a pleiotropic cytokine in the skin that can function both as a tumor promoter and suppressor in chemically induced skin carcinogenesis, but the function in ultraviolet B (UVB) carcinogenesis is not well understood. Treatment of SKH1 hairless mice with the activin-like kinase 5 (ALK5) inhibitor SB431542 to block UVB-induced activation of cutaneous TGFβ1 signaling suppressed skin tumor formation but did not alter tumor size or tumor cell proliferation. Tumors that arose in SB-treated mice after 30 weeks had significantly reduced percentage of IFNγ(+) tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes compared with control mice. SB431542 blocked acute and chronic UVB-induced skin inflammation and T-cell activation in the skin-draining lymph node (SDLN) and skin but did not alter UVB-induced epidermal proliferation. We tested the effect of SB431542 on migration of skin dendritic cell (DC) populations because DCs are critical mediators of T-cell activation and cutaneous inflammation. SB431542 blocked (i) UVB-induced Smad2 phosphorylation in dermal DC (dDC) and (ii) SDLN and ear explant migration of CD103(+) CD207(+) and CD207(-) skin DC subsets but did not affect basal or UV-induced migration of Langerhans cells. Mice expressing a dominant-negative TGFβ type II receptor in CD11c(+) cells had reduced basal and UVB-induced SDLN migration of CD103(+) CD207(+) and CD207(-) DC subsets and a reduced percentage of CD86(high) dDC following UVB irradiation. Together, these suggest that TGFβ1 signaling has a tumor-promoting role in UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis and this is mediated in part through its role in UVB-induced migration of dDC and cutaneous inflammation.

Fu Y, Liu X, Zhou N, et al.
MicroRNA-200b stimulates tumour growth in TGFBR2-null colorectal cancers by negatively regulating p27/kip1.
J Cell Physiol. 2014; 229(6):772-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the most common malignancy worldwide. TGF-β1 is often overexpressed in late stages of colorectal carcinogenesis and promotes tumour growth and metastasis. Several reports have verified that the loss of functional TGFBRII expression contributed to escape the tumour suppressor activity of TGF-β1 and that the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) responded to TGF-β1 involved in tumour invasion and metastasis. However, the mechanisms by which TGF-β1 confers a growth advantage to TGFBRII-null colorectal cancer cells have not been elucidated. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional inhibitory regulators of gene expression that act by directly binding complementary mRNA and are key determinants of cancer initiation and progression. In this study, we revealed a role for miR-200b in colorectal cancer. MiR-200b was highly expressed in TGFBRII-null tumour tissues and colorectal cancer cell lines and positively correlated with cell proliferation in tumour tissues and cell lines. In contrast, decreasing the miR-200b level in TGFBRII-null cells suppressed cell proliferation and cell cycle progression. Furthermore, in vivo studies also suggested a stimulating effect of miR-200b on TGFBRII-null cell-derived xenografts. CDKN1B (p27/kip1) and RND3 (RhoE) have miR-200b binding sequences within their 3' untranslated regions and were confirmed to be direct targets of miR-200b using fluorescent reporter assays. Meanwhile, CDKN1B (p27/kip1) played a role in miR-200b-stimulated TGFBR-null CRC. This study suggests that miR-200b plays a tumour-promoting role by targeting CDKN1B (p27/kip1) in CRCs.

Sun ZJ, Zhang L, Zhang W, et al.
Inhibition of mTOR reduces anal carcinogenesis in transgenic mouse model.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(10):e74888 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
The molecular mechanism of human anal squamous cell carcinoma (ASCC) is unclear, and the accumulating evidence indicate association of ASCC with the activation of the Akt/mTOR pathway. Here we describe a mouse model with spontaneous anal squamous cell cancer, wherein a combined deletion of Tgfbr1 and Pten in stratified squamous epithelia was induced using inducible K14-Cre. Histopathologic analyses confirmed that 33.3% of the mice showed increased susceptibility to ASCC and precancerous lesions. Biomarker analyses demonstrated that the activation of the Akt pathway in ASCC of the Tgfbr1 and Pten double knockout (2cKO) mouse was similar to that observed in human anal cancer. Chemopreventive experiments using mTOR inhibitor-rapamycin treatment significantly delayed the onset of the ASCC tumors and reduced the tumor burden in 2cKO mice by decreasing the phosphorylation of Akt and S6. This is the first conditional knockout mouse model used for investigating the contributions of viral and cellular factors in anal carcinogenesis without carcinogen-mediated induction, and it would provide a platform for assessing new therapeutic modalities for treating and/or preventing this type of cancer.

Peng Y, Li Z, Li Z
GRP78 secreted by tumor cells stimulates differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to cancer-associated fibroblasts.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 440(4):558-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), one type of tumor-associated stromal cells, have been shown to provide a favorable environment for the malignant tumor progression. Extensive reports have demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can function as precursors for CAFs. However, the mechanisms by which tumor cells induce the transition of MSCs to CAFs have not been well established. GRP78, traditionally known as an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone, has been identified to overexpress in a variety of tumor entities and be involved in promoting survival and chemoresistance of tumor cells. Here, we interrogated the role of GRP78 in the generation of CAFs from MSCs. The results showed that GRP78 treatment induced expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), a marker for CAFs, in human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (HBMSCs) as well as murine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs). This phenomenon was correlated with the stimulated phosphorylation of Smad2/3. Furthermore, the GRP78-induced α-SMA expression in HBMSCs was obviously attenuated by SB431542, a TGF-β type I receptor kinase inhibitor. Taken together, the present data suggested that tumor-derived secreted GRP78 elicited the differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) to CAFs through activating TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway, which may represent a novel mechanism for transition of BMSCs to CAFs and a hitherto unknown function of GRP78 in the tumor microenvironment.

Hawinkels LJ, Garcia de Vinuesa A, Ten Dijke P
Activin receptor-like kinase 1 as a target for anti-angiogenesis therapy.
Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2013; 22(11):1371-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Formation of blood vessels from pre-existing ones, also termed angiogenesis, is of crucial importance for the outgrowth of tumours beyond 1 - 2 mm³. Therefore, anti-angiogenic therapies, mainly focussing on inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are used in clinical therapy. However, although initially reducing tumour size, therapy resistance occurs frequently and new targets are needed. A possible target is activin receptor-like kinase (ALK)-1, a transforming growth factor (TGF)-β type-I receptor, which binds bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-9 and -10 with high affinity and has an important role in regulating angiogenesis.
AREAS COVERED: Several approaches to interfere with ALK1 signalling have been developed, that is, ALK1 neutralising antibodies and a soluble ALK1 extracellular domain/Fc fusion protein (ALK1-Fc), acting as a ligand trap. In this review, we discuss the involvement of ALK1 in angiogenesis, in a variety of diseases and the current status of the development of ALK1 inhibitors for cancer therapy.
EXPERT OPINION: Based on current, mainly preclinical studies on inhibition of ALK1 signalling by ligand traps and neutralising antibodies, targeting ALK1 seems very promising. Both ALK1-Fc and neutralising antibodies strongly inhibit angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. The results from the first Phase I clinical trials are to be reported soon and multiple Phase II studies are ongoing.

Zhang L, Zhou F, García de Vinuesa A, et al.
TRAF4 promotes TGF-β receptor signaling and drives breast cancer metastasis.
Mol Cell. 2013; 51(5):559-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
TGF-β signaling is a therapeutic target in advanced cancers. We identified tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 4 (TRAF4) as a key component mediating pro-oncogenic TGF-β-induced SMAD and non-SMAD signaling. Upon TGF-β stimulation, TRAF4 is recruited to the active TGF-β receptor complex, where it antagonizes E3 ligase SMURF2 and facilitates the recruitment of deubiquitinase USP15 to the TGF-β type I receptor (TβRI). Both processes contribute to TβRI stabilization on the plasma membrane and thereby enhance TGF-β signaling. In addition, the TGF-β receptor-TRAF4 interaction triggers Lys 63-linked TRAF4 polyubiquitylation and subsequent activation of the TGF-β-activated kinase (TAK)1. TRAF4 is required for efficient TGF-β-induced migration, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and breast cancer metastasis. Elevated TRAF4 expression correlated with increased levels of phosphorylated SMAD2 and phosphorylated TAK1 as well as poor prognosis among breast cancer patients. Our results demonstrate that TRAF4 can regulate the TGF-β pathway and is a key determinant in breast cancer pathogenesis.

Vázquez PF, Carlini MJ, Daroqui MC, et al.
TGF-beta specifically enhances the metastatic attributes of murine lung adenocarcinoma: implications for human non-small cell lung cancer.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2013; 30(8):993-1007 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is the most frequent and one of the most deadly cancer types and is classified into small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) regulates a wide array of cell functions and plays a major role in lung diseases, including NSCLC. TGFβ signals through the complex of TGFβ type I and type II receptors, triggering Smad and non-Smad signaling pathways such as PI3K/Akt and MEK1/ERK. We investigated the role of TGFβ1 on the progression of the murine lung adenocarcinoma cell line LP07. Furthermore, we undertook a retrospective study with tissue samples from stage I and II NSCLC patients to assess the clinical pathologic role and prognostic significance of TβRI expression. We demonstrated that although lung cancer cell monolayers responded to TGFβ1 anti-mitogenic effects and TGFβ1 pulse (24 h treatment) delayed tumor growth at primary site; a switch towards malignant progression upon TGFβ1 treatment was observed at the metastatic site. In our model, TGFβ1 modulated in vitro clonogenicity, protected against stress-induced apoptosis and increased adhesion, spreading, lung retention and metastatic outgrowth. PI3K and MEK1 signaling pathways were involved in TGFβ1-mediated metastasis stimulation. Several of these TGFβ responses were also observed in human NSCLC cell lines. In addition, we found that a higher expression of TβRI in human lung tumors is associated with poor patient's overall survival by univariate analysis, while multivariate analysis did not reach statistical significance. Although additional detailed analysis of the endogenous signaling in vivo and in vitro is needed, these studies may provide novel molecular targets for the treatment of lung cancer.

Bertran E, Crosas-Molist E, Sancho P, et al.
Overactivation of the TGF-β pathway confers a mesenchymal-like phenotype and CXCR4-dependent migratory properties to liver tumor cells.
Hepatology. 2013; 58(6):2032-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) is an important regulatory suppressor factor in hepatocytes. However, liver tumor cells develop mechanisms to overcome its suppressor effects and respond to this cytokine by inducing other processes, such as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which contributes to tumor progression and dissemination. Recent studies have placed chemokines and their receptors at the center not only of physiological cell migration but also of pathological processes, such as metastasis in cancer. In particular, CXCR4 and its ligand, stromal cell-derived factor 1α (SDF-1α) / chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 (CXCL12) have been revealed as regulatory molecules involved in the spreading and progression of a variety of tumors. Here we show that autocrine stimulation of TGF-β in human liver tumor cells correlates with a mesenchymal-like phenotype, resistance to TGF-β-induced suppressor effects, and high expression of CXCR4, which is required for TGF-β-induced cell migration. Silencing of the TGF-β receptor1 (TGFBR1), or its specific inhibition, recovered the epithelial phenotype and attenuated CXCR4 expression, inhibiting cell migratory capacity. In an experimental mouse model of hepatocarcinogenesis (diethylnitrosamine-induced), tumors showed increased activation of the TGF-β pathway and enhanced CXCR4 levels. In human hepatocellular carcinoma tumors, high levels of CXCR4 always correlated with activation of the TGF-β pathway, a less differentiated phenotype, and a cirrhotic background. CXCR4 concentrated at the tumor border and perivascular areas, suggesting its potential involvement in tumor cell dissemination.
CONCLUSION: A crosstalk exists among the TGF-β and CXCR4 pathways in liver tumors, reflecting a novel molecular mechanism that explains the protumorigenic effects of TGF-β and opens new perspectives for tumor therapy.

Li Q, Zhang D, Wang Y, et al.
MiR-21/Smad 7 signaling determines TGF-β1-induced CAF formation.
Sci Rep. 2013; 3:2038 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
How TGF-β1-mediated signaling pathways are finely tuned to orchestrate the generation of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that miR-21 and the signaling of its target Smad 7 determine TGF-β1-induced CAF formation. In primary cultured fibroblasts, mature miR-21 increases after TGF-β1 treatment, whereas the Smad 7 protein level decreases. MiR-21 binds to the 3' UTR of Smad7 mRNA and inhibits its translation, rather than causing its degradation. Most importantly, Smad 7 is bound to Smad 2 and 3, which are thought to competitively bind to TGFBR1, and prevents their activation upon TGF-β1 stimulation. The depletion of miR-21 or the overexpression of Smad 7 blocks TGF-β1-induced CAF formation, whereas the overexpression of miR-21 or the depletion of Smad 7 promotes CAF formation, even without TGF-β1 stimulation. Collectively, these findings clearly demonstrate that miR-21 and Smad7 are critical regulators of TGF-β1 signaling during the induction of CAF formation.

Zhou YH, Liao SJ, Li D, et al.
TLR4 ligand/H₂O₂ enhances TGF-β1 signaling to induce metastatic potential of non-invasive breast cancer cells by activating non-Smad pathways.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(5):e65906 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
TGF-β1 has the potential to activate multiple signaling pathways required for inducing metastatic potential of tumor cells. However, TGF-β1 was inefficient in inducing metastatic potential of many non-invasive human tumor cells. Here we report that the enhancement of TGF-β1 signaling is required for inducing metastatic potential of non-invasive breast cancer cells. TGF-β1 alone could not efficiently induce the sustained activation of Smad and non-Smad pathways in non-invasive breast cancer cells. TLR4 ligand (LPS) and H₂O₂ cooperated with TGF-β1 to enhance the sustained activation of non-Smad pathways, including p38MAPK, ERK, JNK, PI3K, and NF-κB. The activation of MAPK and PI3K pathways resulted in a positive feed-back effect on TGF-β1 signaling by down-regulating Nm23-H1 expression and up-regulating the expression of TβRI and TβRII, favoring further activation of multiple signaling pathways. Moreover, the enhanced TGF-β1 signaling induced higher expression of SNAI2, which also promoted TβRII expression. Therefore, the sustained activation levels of both Smad and non-Smad pathways were gradually increased after prolonged stimulation with TGF-β1/H₂O₂/LPS. Consistent with the activation pattern of signaling pathways, the invasive capacity and anoikis-resistance of non-invasive breast cancer cells were gradually increased after prolonged stimulation with TGF-β1/H₂O₂/LPS. The metastatic potential induced by TGF-β1/H₂O₂/LPS was sufficient for tumor cells to extravasate and form metastatic foci in an experimental metastasis model in nude mice. The findings in this study suggested that the enhanced signaling is required for inducing higher metastatic capacity of tumor cells, and that targeting one of stimuli or signaling pathways might be potential approach in comprehensive strategy for tumor therapy.

Shen Z, Seppänen H, Kauttu T, et al.
Vasohibin-1 expression is regulated by transforming growth factor-β/bone morphogenic protein signaling pathway between tumor-associated macrophages and pancreatic cancer cells.
J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2013; 33(8):428-33 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Vasohibin-1 has been detected in endothelial cells as an intrinsic angiogenesis inhibitor. Both tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)/bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling have been reported to promote angiogenesis in cancer. However, whether vasohibin-1 expression is regulated by TGF-β/BMP signaling between TAMs and cancer cells remains unclear. The expression of TGF-β1, TGF-β2, BMP-4, and BMP-7 in TAMs and the expression of vasohibin-1, vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), and VEGF-C in two pancreatic cancer cell lines (a nonmetastatic cell line Panc-1 and a distant metastatic cell line HPAF-II) were measured by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The TGF-β receptor 1 and BMP receptor 1 were inhibited by the inhibitor SB-431542 and LDN193189, respectively. Thereafter, vasohibin-1, VEGF-A, and VEGF-C expression was detected by real-time RT-PCR. We found that the expression of TGF-β1, TGF-β2, BMP-4, and BMP-7 was upregulated in TAMs cocultured with pancreatic cancer cells. Vasohibin-1, VEGF-A, and VEGF-C mRNA expression in pancreatic cancer cells was upregulated by TAMs. Vasohibin-1 expression in pancreatic cancer cells cocultured with TAMs was upregulated significantly when TGF-β receptors or BMP receptors were inhibited, but VEGF-C expression was downregulated. Therefore, Vasohibin-1 expression is regulated by the TGF-β/BMP signaling between TAMs and pancreatic cancer cells. These results might shed a new light on the antiangiogenesis therapy in the pancreatic cancer.

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