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Biochem J. 2001 Jul 1;357(Pt 1):249-53.

Transforming growth factor beta-1 enhances Smad transcriptional activity through activation of p8 gene expression.

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  • 1INSERM U.315, 46 boulevard de la Gaye, F-13009 Marseille, France.


We report that exposure of mouse embryonic fibroblasts to transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFbeta-1) (5 ng/ml) results in a strong activation of p8 mRNA expression that precedes the induction of cell growth. Involvement of the p8 promoter in the regulation was demonstrated by using a p8-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase construct. We therefore speculated that p8 might be a mediator of TGFbeta-1 in these cells. The incorporation of [(3)H]thymidine on treatment with TGFbeta-1 was indeed significantly higher in p8(+/+) fibroblasts than in p8(-/-) fibroblasts. Smad transcriptional activity was used as marker of the TGFbeta-1 signalling pathway, to probe the lower p8(-/-) response to TGFbeta-1. Two Smad-binding elements (SBEs)-luciferase constructs were transfected into p8(-/-) and p8(+/+) embryonic fibroblasts before treatment with TGFbeta-1. A lower level of Smad transactivation was observed in p8(-/-) embryonic fibroblasts, under basal conditions and after stimulation with TGFbeta-1. To test whether Smad underexpression in p8(-/-) cells was actually due to p8 depletion, p8(-/-) embryonic fibroblasts were transfected with a human p8 expression plasmid together with an SBE-luciferase construct. The expression of p8 restored Smad transactivation in unstimulated and TGFbeta-1-treated cells to the level found in p8(+/+) cells. We concluded that TGFbeta-1 activates p8 expression, which in turn enhances the Smad-transactivating function responsible for TGFbeta-1 activity.

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