Send to

Choose Destination
J Pathol. 2001 Apr;193(4):458-67.

Decreased expression of TGF-beta cell surface receptors during progression of human oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Author information

Division of Oral Medicine, Pathology and Microbiology, University of Bristol, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol, BS1 2LY, UK.


This study examined the immunocytochemical expression of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) isoforms TGF-beta1, TGF-beta2, and TGF-beta3, together with the TGF-beta cell surface receptors TbetaR-I and TbetaR-II, in patient-matched tissue pairs of normal human oral epithelium, primary squamous cell carcinomas, and metastatic lymph node tumour deposits. There were no significant differences in the intensity of TGF-beta isoform specific staining between the normal oral epithelium, the primary tumours, and the lymph node metastases. By contrast, there was significantly less TbetaR-II in the metastases than in the primary tumour and between the primary tumour and the normal oral epithelium. Similar trends were evident with TbetaR-I, but not at a statistically significant level. This study also examined the structure of TbetaR-I and TbetaR-II in normal human oral keratinocytes in vitro and in 14 human oral carcinoma cell lines with known responses to TGF-beta1. No structural abnormalities of TbetaR-II were present in the normal keratinocytes or in 13 of 14 malignant cell lines; in one line, there were both normal and mutant forms of TbetaR-II, the latter being in the form of a frameshift mutation with the insertion of a single adenine base (bases 709-718, codons 125-128), predicting a truncated receptor having no kinase domain. No defects were present in TbetaR-I. The structures of TbetaR-I and TbetaR-II did not correlate with growth inhibition by TGF-beta1. The data suggest that decreased expression of TGF-beta receptors, rather than structural defects of these genes, may be important in oral epithelial tumour progression. In order to examine the functional significance of a specific decrease in TbetaR-II expression, a dominant-negative TbetaR-II construct (dnTbetaR-II) was transfected into a human oral carcinoma cell line with a normal TGF-beta receptor profile and known to be markedly inhibited by TGF-beta1. In those clones that overexpressed the dnTbetaR-II, growth inhibition and Smad binding activity were decreased, whilst the regulation of Fra-1 and collagenase-1 remained unchanged following treatment with TGF-beta1. The results demonstrate that a decrease in TbetaR-II relative to TbetaR-I leads to selective gene regulation with loss of growth inhibition but continued transcription of AP-1-dependent genes that are involved in the regulation of the extracellular matrix.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center