Send to

Choose Destination
Biochem J. 2004 Apr 1;379(Pt 1):209-16.

Molecular and functional consequences of Smad4 C-terminal missense mutations in colorectal tumour cells.

Author information

Laboratory of Developmental Signalling, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK.


Smad4 is an essential signal transducer of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signalling pathway and has been identified as a tumour suppressor, being mutated in approx. 50% of pancreatic cancers and approx. 15% of colorectal cancers. Two missense mutations in the C-terminal domain of Smad4, D351H (Asp351-->His) and D537Y (Asp537-->Tyr), have been described recently in the human colorectal cancer cell lines CACO-2 and SW948 respectively [Woodford-Richens, Rowan, Gorman, Halford, Bicknell, Wasan, Roylance, Bodmer and Tomlinson (2001) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98, 9719-9723]. Previous work in vitro suggested that only Asp-351 was required for interaction with Smad2 [Wu, Fairman, Penry and Shi (2001) J. Biol. Chem. 276, 20688-20694]. In the present study, we investigate the functional consequences of these point mutations in vivo. We demonstrate that neither of these colorectal cancer cells undergo growth arrest in response to TGF-beta, which can be explained, at least in part, by their inability to up-regulate cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21 (CIP1 ) or p15 ( INK4b) after TGF-beta stimulation. Although the point-mutated Smad4s are expressed at normal levels in these colorectal cancer cells, they cannot interact with either TGF-beta-induced phosphorylated Smad2 or Smad3. As a result, these Smad4 mutants do not accumulate in the nucleus after TGF-beta stimulation, are not recruited to DNA by relevant Smad-binding transcription factors and cannot generate transcriptionally active DNA-bound complexes. Therefore both these colorectal tumour cells completely lack functional Smad4 activity owing to the missense mutations. Given the location of these mutations in the three-dimensional structure of the Smad4 C-terminal domain, the results also give us significant insights into Smad complex formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center