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Mol Biol Cell. 2004 Mar;15(3):963-72. Epub 2003 Dec 29.

Interaction with Smad4 is indispensable for suppression of BMP signaling by c-Ski.

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Department of Molecular Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


c-Ski is a transcriptional corepressor that interacts strongly with Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4 but only weakly with Smad1 and Smad5. Through binding to Smad proteins, c-Ski suppresses signaling of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) as well as bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). In the present study, we found that a mutant of c-Ski, termed c-Ski (ARPG) inhibited TGF-beta/activin signaling but not BMP signaling. Selectivity was confirmed in luciferase reporter assays and by determination of cellular responses in mammalian cells (BMP-induced osteoblastic differentiation of C2C12 cells and TGF-beta-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transdifferentiation of NMuMG cells) and Xenopus embryos. The ARPG mutant recruited histone deacetylases 1 (HDAC1) to the Smad3-Smad4 complex but not to the Smad1/5-Smad4 complex. c-Ski (ARPG) was unable to interact with Smad4, and the selective loss of suppression of BMP signaling by c-Ski (ARPG) was attributed to the lack of Smad4 binding. We also found that c-Ski interacted with Smad3 or Smad4 without disrupting Smad3-Smad4 heteromer formation. c-Ski (ARPG) would be useful for selectively suppressing TGF-beta/activin signaling.

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