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J Biol Chem. 2010 Sep 24;285(39):30069-78. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.148288. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Metabolic regulator betaKlotho interacts with fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) to induce apoptosis and inhibit tumor cell proliferation.

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  • 1IBT Proteomics and Nanotechnology Laboratory, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A & MHealth Science Center, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


In organs involved in metabolic homeostasis, transmembrane α and βklothos direct FGFR signaling to control of metabolic pathways. Coordinate expression of βklotho and FGFR4 is a property of mature hepatocytes. Genetic deletion of FGFR4 or βklotho in mice disrupts hepatic cholesterol/bile acid and lipid metabolism. The deletion of FGFR4 has no effect on the proliferative response of hepatocytes after liver injury. However, its absence results in accelerated progression of dimethynitrosamine-initiated hepatocellular carcinomas, indicating that FGFR4 suppresses hepatoma proliferation. The mechanism underlying the FGFR4-mediated hepatoma suppression has not been addressed. Here we show that βklotho expression is more consistently down-regulated in human and mouse hepatomas than FGFR4. Co-expression and activation by either endocrine FGF19 or cellular FGF1 of the FGFR4 kinase in a complex with βklotho restricts cell population growth through induction of apoptotic cell death in both hepatic and nonhepatic cells. The βklotho-FGFR4 partnership caused a depression of activated AKT and mammalian target of rapamycin while activating ERK1/2 that may underlie the pro-apoptotic effect. Our results show that βklotho not only interacts with heparan sulfate-FGFR4 to form a complex with high affinity for endocrine FGF19 but also impacts the quality of downstream signaling and biological end points activated by either FGF19 or canonical FGF1. Thus the same βklotho-heparan sulfate-FGFR4 partnership that mediates endocrine control of hepatic metabolism plays a role in cellular homeostasis and hepatoma suppression through negative control of cell population growth mediated by pro-apoptotic signaling.

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