alexa Sequential activation of NFAT and c-Myc transcription factors mediates the TGF-beta switch from a suppressor to a promoter of cancer cell proliferation


Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis

Author(s): Singh G, Singh SK, Knig A, Reutlinger K, Nye MD

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Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) has a dual role in carcinogenesis, acting as a growth inhibitor in early tumor stages and a promoter of cell proliferation in advanced diseases. Although this cellular phenomenon is well established, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we report that sequential induction of NFAT and c-Myc transcription factors is sufficient and required for the TGF-beta switch from a cell cycle inhibitor to a growth promoter pathway in cancer cells. Mechanistically, TGF-beta induces in a calcineurin-dependent manner the expression and activation of NFAT factors, which then translocate into the nucleus to promote c-Myc expression. In response to TGF-beta, activated NFAT factors bind to and displace Smad3 repressor complexes from the previously identified TGF-beta inhibitory element (TIE) to transactivate the c-Myc promoter. c-Myc in turn stimulates cell cycle progression and growth through up-regulation of D-type cyclins. Most importantly, NFAT knockdown not only prevents c-Myc activation and cell proliferation, but also partially restores TGF-beta-induced cell cycle arrest and growth suppression. Taken together, this study provides the first evidence for a Smad-independent master regulatory pathway in TGF-beta-promoted cell growth that is defined by sequential transcriptional activation of NFAT and c-Myc factors.

This article was published in J Biol Chem. and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis

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