Author(s): Matsuzaki K
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Abstract Better understanding of TGF-β signaling has deepened our appreciation of normal epithelial cell homeostasis and its dysfunction in such human disorders as cancer and fibrosis. Smad proteins, which convey signals from TGF-β receptors to the nucleus, possess intermediate linker regions connecting Mad homology domains. Membrane-bound, cytoplasmic, and nuclear protein kinases differentially phosphorylate Smad2 and Smad3 to create C-tail (C), the linker (L), or dually (L/C) phosphorylated (p, phospho-) isoforms. According to domain-specific phosphorylation, distinct transcriptional responses, and selective metabolism, Smad phospho-isoform pathways can be grouped into 4 types: cytostatic pSmad3C signaling, mitogenic pSmad3L (Ser-213) signaling, invasive/fibrogenic pSmad2L (Ser-245/250/255)/C or pSmad3L (Ser-204)/C signaling, and mitogenic/migratory pSmad2/3L (Thr-220/179)/C signaling. We outline how responses to TGF-β change through the multiple Smad phospho-isoforms as normal epithelial cells mature from stem cells through progenitors to differentiated cells, and further reflect upon how constitutive Ras-activating mutants favor the Smad phospho-isoform pathway promoting tumor progression. Finally, clinical analyses of reversible Smad phospho-isoform signaling during human carcinogenesis could assess effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing human cancer risk. Spatiotemporally separate, functionally different Smad phospho-isoforms have been identified in specific cells and tissues, answering long-standing questions about context-dependent TGF-β signaling. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Cytokine Growth Factor Rev
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology