ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β signaling (TGF-β) maintains a balanced physiological function including cell growth, differentiation, and proliferation and regulation of immune system by modulating either SMAD2/3 and SMAD7 (SMAD-dependent) or SMAD-independent signaling pathways under normal conditions. Increased production of TGF-β promotes immunosuppression in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) infection. However, the cellular source and downstream events of increased TGF-β production that attributes to its pathological manifestations remain unknown. Here, we have shown increased production of TGF-β in a majority of intestinal CD3-CD20-CD68+ cells from acute and chronically SIV infected rhesus macaques, which negatively correlated with the frequency of jejunum CD4+ T cells. No significant changes in intestinal TGF-β receptor II expression were observed but increased production of the pSMAD2/3 protein and SMAD3 gene expression in jejunum tissues that were accompanied by a downregulation of SMAD7 protein and gene expression. Enhanced TGF-β production by intestinal CD3-CD20-CD68+ cells and increased TGF-β/SMAD-dependent signaling might be due to a disruption of a negative feedback loop mediated by SMAD7. This suggests that SIV infection impacts the SMAD-dependent signaling pathway of TGF-β and provides a potential framework for further study to understand the role of viral factor(s) in modulating TGF-β production and downregulating SMAD7 expression in SIV. Regulation of mucosal TGF-β expression by therapeutic TGF-β blockers may help to create effective antiviral mucosal immune responses.
Project description:The interplay between the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling proteins, SMAD family member 2 (SMAD2) and 3 (SMAD3), and the TGF-β-inhibiting SMAD, SMAD7, seems to play a vital role in proper pancreatic endocrine development and also in normal β-cell function in adult pancreatic islets. Here, we generated conditional SMAD7 knockout mice by crossing insulin1<sup>Cre</sup> mice with SMAD7<sup>fx/fx</sup> mice. We also created a β cell-specific SMAD7-overexpressing mouse line by crossing insulin1<sup>Dre</sup> mice with HPRT-SMAD7/RosaGFP mice. We analyzed β-cell function in adult islets when SMAD7 was either absent or overexpressed in β cells. Loss of SMAD7 in β cells inhibited proliferation, and SMAD7 overexpression enhanced cell proliferation. However, alterations in basic glucose homeostasis were not detectable following either SMAD7 deletion or overexpression in β cells. Our results show that both the absence and overexpression of SMAD7 affect TGF-β signaling and modulates β-cell proliferation but does not appear to alter β-cell function. Reversible SMAD7 overexpression may represent an attractive therapeutic option to enhance β-cell proliferation without negative effects on β-cell function.
Project description:Myeloid cells play an essential role in the maintenance of liver homeostasis, as well as the initiation and termination of innate and adaptive immune responses. In chronic hepatic inflammation, the production of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is pivotal for scarring and fibrosis induction and progression. TGF-β signalling is tightly regulated via the Smad protein family. Smad7 acts as an inhibitor of the TGF-β-signalling pathway, rendering cells that express high levels of it resistant to TGF-β-dependent signal transduction. In hepatocytes, the absence of Smad7 promotes liver fibrosis. Here, we examine whether Smad7 expression in myeloid cells affects the extent of liver inflammation, injury and fibrosis induction during chronic liver inflammation. Using the well-established model of chronic carbon tetrachloride (CCl<sub>4</sub>)-mediated liver injury, we investigated the role of Smad7 in myeloid cells in LysM-Cre Smad<sup>fl/fl</sup> mice that harbour a myeloid-specific knock-down of Smad7. We found that the chronic application of CCl<sub>4</sub> induces severe liver injury, with elevated serum alanine transaminase (ALT)/aspartate transaminase (AST) levels, centrilobular and periportal necrosis and immune-cell infiltration. However, the myeloid-specific knock-down of Smad7 did not influence these and other parameters in the CCl<sub>4</sub>-treated animals. In summary, our results suggest that, during long-term application of CCl<sub>4</sub>, Smad7 expression in myeloid cells and its potential effects on the TGF-β-signalling pathway are dispensable for regulating the extent of chronic liver injury and inflammation.
Project description:TGF-β is a pleiotropic cytokine that regulates a wide range of cellular actions and pathophysiological processes. TGF-β signaling is spatiotemporally fine-tuned. As a key negative regulator of TGF-β signaling, Smad7 exerts its inhibitory effects by blocking receptor activity, inducing receptor degradation or interfering with Smad-DNA binding. However, the functions and the molecular mechanisms underlying the actions of Smad7 in TGF-β signaling are still not fully understood. In this study we report a novel mechanism whereby Smad7 antagonizes TGF-β signaling at the Smad level. Smad7 oligomerized with R-Smad proteins upon TGF-β signaling and directly inhibited R-Smad activity, as assessed by Gal4-luciferase reporter assays. Mechanistically, Smad7 competes with Smad4 to associate with R-Smads and recruits the E3 ubiquitin ligase NEDD4L to activated R-Smads, leading to their polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Similar to the R-Smad-Smad4 oligomerization, the interaction between R-Smads and Smad7 is mediated by their mad homology 2 (MH2) domains. A positive-charged basic region including the L3/β8 loop-strand module and adjacent amino acids in the MH2 domain of Smad7 is essential for the interaction. These results shed new light on the regulation of TGF-β signaling by Smad7.
Project description:Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) has been identified as one of the most important fibrogenic cytokines associated with Peyronie's disease (PD). The mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 7 (SMAD7) is an inhibitory Smad protein that blocks TGF-β signaling pathway. The aim of this study was to examine the anti-fibrotic effect of the SMAD7 gene in primary fibroblasts derived from human PD plaques. PD fibroblasts were pretreated with the SMAD7 gene and then stimulated with TGF-β1. Treated fibroblasts were used for Western blotting, fluorescent immunocytochemistry, hydroxyproline determination, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling assays. Overexpression of the SMAD7 gene inhibited TGF-β1-induced phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of SMAD2 and SMAD3, transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, and quashed TGF-β1-induced production of extracellular matrix protein and hydroxyproline. Overexpression of the SMAD7 gene decreased the expression of cyclin D1 (a positive cell cycle regulator) and induced the expression of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1, which is known to terminate Smad-mediated transcription, in PD fibroblasts. These findings suggest that the blocking of the TGF-β pathway by use of SMAD7 may be a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of PD.
Project description:Overexpression of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) has been shown to play pathogenic roles in progression of renal fibrosis, and the severity of tubulointerstitial fibrosis correlates better with renal function than the severity of glomerulosclerosis. Smad proteins are signaling transducers downstream from TGF-beta receptors. Three families of Smad proteins have been identified: receptor-regulated Smad2 and Smad3, common partner Smad4, and inhibitory Smad7 (part of a negative-feedback loop). We investigated Smad-mediated TGF-beta signaling pathway and regulatory mechanisms of inhibitory Smad7 in unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) kidneys in mice, a model of progressive tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Compared with sham-operated kidneys, the level of Smad7 protein, but not mRNA, decreased progressively in UUO kidneys, whereas immunoreactivity for nuclear phosphorylated Smad2 and Smad3 and renal fibrosis were inversely increased. Furthermore, we demonstrated that both the degradation and ubiquitination activity of Smad7 protein were increased markedly in UUO kidneys compared with sham-operated ones. We also found that both Smurf1 and Smurf2 (Smad ubiquitination regulatory factors), which are E3 ubiquitin ligases for Smad7, were increased and that they interacted with Smad7 in UUO kidneys. Our results suggest that the reduction of Smad7 protein resulting from enhanced ubiquitin-dependent degradation plays a pathogenic role in progression of tubulointerstitial fibrosis.
Project description:Scleroderma is a chronic systemic disease that leads to fibrosis of affected organs. Transforming growth factor (TGF) beta has been implicated in the pathogenesis of scleroderma. Smad proteins are signaling transducers downstream from TGF-beta receptors. Three families of Smads have been identified: (i) receptor-regulated Smad2 and -3 (R-Smads); (ii) common partner Smad4 (Co-Smad); and (iii) inhibitory Smad6 and -7 (I-Smads, part of a negative feedback loop). We have investigated the signaling components for the TGF-beta pathway and TGF-beta activity in scleroderma lesions in vivo and in scleroderma fibroblasts in vitro. Basal level and TGF-beta-inducible expression of Smad7 are selectively decreased, whereas Smad3 expression is increased both in scleroderma skin and in explanted scleroderma fibroblasts in culture. TGF-beta signaling events, including phosphorylation of Smad2 and -3, and transcription of the PAI-1 gene are increased in scleroderma fibroblasts, relative to normal fibroblasts. In vitro adenoviral gene transfer with Smad7 restores normal TGF-beta signaling in scleroderma fibroblasts. These results suggest that alterations in the Smad pathway, including marked Smad7 deficiency and Smad3 up-regulation, may be responsible for TGF-beta hyperresponsiveness observed in scleroderma.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Transcription factors YAP and TAZ function as the primary mediators of the Hippo pathway. Yet, crosstalk of YAP and TAZ with other signaling pathways remains relatively unexplored. We have explored the impact of YAP and TAZ levels on the TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway in human skin dermal fibroblasts. METHODS:YAP and TAZ levels in dermal fibroblasts were reduced in dermal fibroblasts by siRNA-mediated knockdown. The effects of YAP and TAZ reduction on TGF-β/Smad signaling were examined by quantitative real-time PCR, Western analysis, and immunostaining. Luciferase reporter assays and electrophoretic mobility shift assays were conducted to investigate the transcription factor DNA-binding and transcriptional activities. RESULTS:Knockdown of both YAP and TAZ (YAP/TAZ), but not either separately, impaired TGF-β1-induced Smad3 phosphorylation and Smad3 transcriptional activity, thereby inhibiting the expression of TGF-β target genes. This reduction by reduced levels of YAP/TAZ results from induction of inhibitory Smad7, which inhibits Smad3 phosphorylation and activity by TGF-β1. Conversely, prevention of Smad7 induction restores Smad3 phosphorylation and Smad3 transcriptional activity in fibroblasts that have reduced YAP/TAZ. In agreement with these findings, inhibition of YAP/TAZ transcriptional activity, similar to the reduction of YAP/TAZ levels, also significantly induced Smad7 and impaired TGF-β/Smad signaling. Further investigations revealed that reduced levels of YAP/TAZ led to induction of activator protein-1 (AP-1) activity, Activated AP-1 bound to DNA sequences in the Smad7 gene promoter, and deletion of these AP-1 binding sequences substantially reduced Smad7 promoter reporter activity. CONCLUSION:YAP/TAZ functions in concert with transcription factor AP-1 and Smad7 to regulate TGF-β signaling, in human dermal fibroblasts. Reduction of YAP/TAZ levels leads to activation of AP-1 activity, which induces Smad7. Smad7 suppresses the TGF-β pathway.
Project description:Overexpression of the inhibitory Smad, Smad7, is used frequently to implicate the Smad pathway in cellular responses to transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signaling; however, Smad7 regulates several other proteins, including Cdc42, p38MAPK, and beta-catenin. We report an alternative approach for more specifically disrupting Smad-dependent signaling using a peptide aptamer, Trx-SARA, which comprises a rigid scaffold, the Escherichia coli thioredoxin A protein (Trx), displaying a constrained 56-amino acid Smad-binding motif from the Smad anchor for receptor activation (SARA) protein. Trx-SARA bound specifically to Smad2 and Smad3 and inhibited both TGF-beta-induced reporter gene expression and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in NMuMG murine mammary epithelial cells. In contrast to Smad7, Trx-SARA had no effect on the Smad2 or 3 phosphorylation levels induced by TGF-beta1. Trx-SARA was primarily localized to the nucleus and perturbed the normal cytoplasmic localization of Smad2 and 3 to a nuclear localization in the absence of TGF-beta1, consistent with reduced Smad nuclear export. The key mode of action of Trx-SARA was to reduce the level of Smad2 and Smad3 in complex with Smad4 after TGF-beta1 stimulation, a mechanism of action consistent with the preferential binding of SARA to monomeric Smad protein and Trx-SARA-mediated disruption of active Smad complexes.
Project description:OBJECTIVES: This study explored the response of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells to TGF-beta1-induced growth suppression and investigated the roles of the TGF-beta/Smad signaling pathway in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. METHODS: The cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line CNE2 were treated with TGF-beta1. The growth responses of CNE2 cells were analyzed by MTT assay. The mRNA expression and protein subcellular localization of the TGF-beta/Smad signaling components in the CNE2 were determined by real time RT-PCR and immunocytochemical analysis. RESULTS: We found that the growth of CNE2 cells was not suppressed by TGF-beta1. The signaling proteins TbetaRII, Smad 7 were expressed normally, while Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4 increased significantly at the mRNA level. TGF-beta type II receptor and Smad7 had no change compared to the normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. In addition, Smad2 was phosphorylated to pSmad2, and the activated pSmad2 translocated into the nucleus from the cytoplasm, while the inhibitory Smad-Smad7 translocated from the nucleus to the cytoplasm after TGF-beta1 stimulation. CONCLUSION: The results suggested that CNE2 cells are not sensitive to growth suppression by TGF-beta1, but the TGF-beta/Smad signaling transduction is functional. Further work is needed to address a more detailed spectrum of the TGF-beta/Smad signaling pathway in CNE2 cells.
Project description:Repair of the infarcted heart requires TGFβ-Smad3 signaling in cardiac myofibroblasts. However, TGF-β-driven myofibroblast activation needs to be tightly regulated in order to prevent excessive fibrosis and adverse remodeling that may precipitate heart failure. We hypothesized that induction of the inhibitory Smad, Smad7 may restrain infarct myofibroblast activation, and we examined the molecular mechanisms of Smad7 actions. In a mouse model of non-reperfused infarction, Smad3 activation triggered Smad7 synthesis in β-SMA+ infarct myofibroblasts, but not in β-SMA-/PDGFRα+ fibroblasts. Myofibroblast-specific Smad7 loss increased heart failure-related mortality, worsened dysfunction, and accentuated fibrosis in the infarct border zone and in the papillary muscles. Smad7 attenuated myofibroblast activation and reduced synthesis of structural and matricellular extracellular matrix proteins. Smad7 actions on TGF-β cascades involved de-activation of Smad2/3 and non-Smad pathways, without any effects on TGF-β receptor activity. Unbiased transcriptomic and proteomic analysis identified receptor tyrosine kinase signaling as a major target of Smad7. Smad7 interacted with Erbb2 in a TGF-independent manner and restrained Erbb1/Erbb2 activation, suppressing fibroblast expression of fibrogenic proteases, integrins and CD44. Smad7 induction in myofibroblasts serves as an endogenous TGF-β-induced negative feedback mechanism that inhibits post-infarction fibrosis by restraining Smad-dependent and Smad-independent TGF-β responses, and by suppressing TGF-independent fibrogenic actions of Erbb2. Overall design: Comparison of the transcriptomic profile of In vitro cultured control and Smad7KO cardiac fibroblasts (passage 2), in presence/absence of TGF-β stimulation. Smad7 loss was achieved via Adenoviral Cre expression in fibrobrasts isolated from Smad7 floxed animals. 4 conditions (Control, Smad7KO, Control + TGFβ, S7KO + TGFβ); 3 indepent samples per condition. 12 samples total.