The best characterized signaling pathway downstream of the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) pathway is through SMAD2 and SMAD3. However, TGF-β also induces phosphorylation of SMAD1 and SMAD5, but the mechanism of this phosphorylation and its functional relevance is not known. Here, we show that TGF-β-induced SMAD1/5 phosphorylation requires members of two classes of type I receptor, TGFBR1 and ACVR1, and establish a new paradigm for receptor activation where TGFBR1 phosphorylates and activates ACVR1, which phosphorylates SMAD1/5. We demonstrate the biological significance of this pathway by showing that approximately a quarter of the TGF-β-induced transcriptome depends on SMAD1/5 signaling, with major early transcriptional targets being the ID genes. Finally, we show that TGF-β-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition requires signaling via both the SMAD3 and SMAD1/5 pathways, with SMAD1/5 signaling being essential to induce ID1. Therefore, combinatorial signaling via both SMAD pathways is essential for the full TGF-β-induced transcriptional program and physiological responses.
TGF-beta signalling through SMAD1/5 is required for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitionPublicly available at the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (accession no: GSE92443).
TGF-b utilizes a novel receptor activation mechanism to phosphorylate SMAD1/5 and regulate epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitionPublicly available at the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (accession no: GSE103372).
- Anassuya Ramachandran
- Pedro Vizan
- Debipriya Das
- Probir Chakravarty
- Caroline S Hill
- Andrew P Hinck
- Andrew P Hinck
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Roger J Davis, University of Massachusetts Medical School, United States
© 2018, Ramachandran et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs), ~100 of which are found in human cells, are proteases that remove ubiquitin conjugates from proteins, thereby regulating protein turnover. They are involved in a wide range of cellular activities and are emerging therapeutic targets for cancer and other diseases. Drugs targeting USP1 and USP30 are in clinical development for cancer and kidney disease respectively. However, the majority of substrates and pathways regulated by DUBs remain unknown, impeding efforts to prioritize specific enzymes for research and drug development. To assemble a knowledgebase of DUB activities, co-dependent genes, and substrates, we combined targeted experiments using CRISPR libraries and inhibitors with systematic mining of functional genomic databases. Analysis of the Dependency Map, Connectivity Map, Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, and multiple protein-protein interaction databases yielded specific hypotheses about DUB function, a subset of which were confirmed in follow-on experiments. The data in this paper are browsable online in a newly developed DUB Portal and promise to improve understanding of DUBs as a family as well as the activities of incompletely characterized DUBs (e.g. USPL1 and USP32) and those already targeted with investigational cancer therapeutics (e.g. USP14, UCHL5, and USP7).
Activin ligands are formed from two disulfide-linked inhibin β (Inhβ) subunit chains. They exist as homodimeric proteins, as in the case of activin A (ActA; InhβA/InhβA) or activin C (ActC; InhβC/InhβC), or as heterodimers, as with activin AC (ActAC; InhβA:InhβC). While the biological functions of ActA and activin B (ActB) have been well characterized, little is known about the biological functions of ActC or ActAC. One thought is that the InhβC chain functions to interfere with ActA production by forming less active ActAC heterodimers. Here, we assessed and characterized the signaling capacity of ligands containing the InhβC chain. ActC and ActAC activated SMAD2/3-dependent signaling via the type I receptor, activin receptor-like kinase 7 (ALK7). Relative to ActA and ActB, ActC exhibited lower affinity for the cognate activin type II receptors and was resistant to neutralization by the extracellular antagonist, follistatin. In mature murine adipocytes, which exhibit high ALK7 expression, ActC elicited a SMAD2/3 response similar to ActB, which can also signal via ALK7. Collectively, these results establish that ActC and ActAC are active ligands that exhibit a distinct signaling receptor and antagonist profile compared to other activins.