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Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Aug;27(16):5776-89. Epub 2007 Jun 18.

A novel regulatory mechanism of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway involving the carboxyl-terminal tail domain of BMP type II receptor.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.


Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling regulates many different biological processes, including cell growth, differentiation, and embryogenesis. BMPs bind to heterogeneous complexes of transmembrane serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) kinase receptors known as the BMP type I and II receptors (BMPRI and BMPRII). BMPRII phosphorylates and activates the BMPRI kinase, which in turn activates the Smad proteins. The cytoplasmic region of BMPRII contains a "tail" domain (BMPRII-TD) with no enzymatic activity or known regulatory function. The discovery of mutations associated with idiopathic pulmonary artery hypertension mapping to BMPRII-TD underscores its importance. Here, we report that Tribbles-like protein 3 (Trb3) is a novel BMPRII-TD-interacting protein. Upon BMP stimulation, Trb3 dissociates from BMPRII-TD and triggers degradation of Smad ubiquitin regulatory factor 1 (Smurf1), which results in the stabilization of BMP receptor-regulated Smads and potentiation of the Smad pathway. Downregulation of Trb3 inhibits BMP-mediated cellular responses, including osteoblast differentiation of C2C12 cells and maintenance of the smooth muscle phenotype of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. Thus, Trb3 is a critical component of a novel mechanism for regulation of the BMP pathway by BMPRII.

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