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Mol Biol Cell. 2003 Jul;14(7):2809-17. Epub 2003 Apr 4.

Cooperative inhibition of bone morphogenetic protein signaling by Smurf1 and inhibitory Smads.

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Department of Biochemistry, The Cancer Institute of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tokyo 170-8455, Japan.


Smad ubiquitin regulatory factor (Smurf) 1 binds to receptor-regulated Smads for bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) Smad1/5 and promotes their degradation. In addition, Smurf1 associates with transforming growth factor-beta type I receptor through the inhibitory Smad (I-Smad) Smad7 and induces their degradation. Herein, we examined whether Smurf1 negatively regulates BMP signaling together with the I-Smads Smad6/7. Smurf1 and Smad6 cooperatively induced secondary axes in Xenopus embryos. Using a BMP-responsive promoter-reporter construct in mammalian cells, we found that Smurf1 cooperated with I-Smad in inhibiting BMP signaling and that the inhibitory activity of Smurf1 was not necessarily correlated with its ability to bind to Smad1/5 directly. Smurf1 bound to BMP type I receptors via I-Smads and induced ubiquitination and degradation of these receptors. Moreover, Smurf1 associated with Smad1/5 indirectly through I-Smads and induced their ubiquitination and degradation. Smurf1 thus controls BMP signaling with and without I-Smads through multiple mechanisms.

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