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J Biol Chem. 1996 May 3;271(18):10917-23.

Cell-specific induction of distinct oncogenes of the Jun family is responsible for differential regulation of collagenase gene expression by transforming growth factor-beta in fibroblasts and keratinocytes.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) plays a major role in regulating connective tissue deposition by controlling both extracellular matrix production and degradation. In this study, we show that TGF-beta transcriptionally represses both basal and tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced collagenase (matrix metalloprotease-1) gene expression in dermal fibroblasts in culture, whereas it activates its expression in epidermal keratinocytes. We demonstrate that this differential effect of TGF-beta on collagenase gene expression is due to a cell type-specific induction of distinct oncogenes of the Jun family, which participate in the formation of AP-1 complexes with different trans-activating properties. Specifically, our data indicate that the inhibitory effect of TGF-beta in fibroblasts is likely to be mediated by jun-B, based on the following observations: (a) TGF-beta induces high levels of jun-B expression and (b) over-expression of jun-B mimics TGF-beta effect in inhibiting basal collagenase promoter activity and preventing tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced trans-activation of the collagenase promoter. In contrast, TGF-beta induction of collagenase gene expression in keratinocytes is preceded by transient elevation of c-jun proto-oncogene expression. Over-expression of c-jun leads to trans-activation of the collagenase promoter in both cell types, suggesting that c-jun is a ubiquitous inducer of collagenase gene expression. Transfection of keratinocytes with an antisense c-jun construct together with a collagenase promoter/reporter gene construct inhibits basal and TGF-beta-induced up-regulation of the collagenase promoter activity, implying that c-jun mediates TGF-beta effect in this cell type. Collectively, our data suggest differential signaling pathways for TGF-beta in dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes, leading to cell type-specific induction of two AP-1 components with opposite transcriptional activities.

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