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J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 29;280(17):17562-71. Epub 2005 Mar 1.

Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta-activated kinase 1 mimics and mediates TGF-beta-induced stimulation of type II collagen synthesis in chondrocytes independent of Col2a1 transcription and Smad3 signaling.

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Orthopaedic Hospital, Los Angeles, J. Vernon Luck, Sr., M.D. Research Center and UCLA-Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), and interleukin-1beta activate TGF-beta-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), which lies upstream of the p38 MAPK, JNK, and NF-kappaB pathways. Our knowledge remains incomplete of TAK1 target genes, requirement for cooperative signaling, and capacity for shared or segregated ligand-dependent responses. We show that adenoviral overexpression of TAK1a in articular chondrocytes stimulated type II collagen protein synthesis 3-6-fold and mimicked the response to TGF-beta1 and BMP2. Both factors activated endogenous TAK1 and its activating protein, TAB1, and the collagen response was inhibited by dominant-negative TAK1a. Isoform-specific antibodies to TGF-beta blocked the response to endogenous and exogenous TGF-beta but not the response to TAK1a. Expression of Smad3 did not stimulate type II collagen synthesis or enhance that caused by TGF-beta1 or TAK1a, in contrast to its effects on its endogenous targets, CTGF and plasminogen-activated inhibitor-1. TAK1a, overexpressed alone and immunoprecipitated, phosphorylated MKK6 and stimulated the plasminogen-activated inhibitor-1 promoter following transient transfection; both effects were enhanced by TAB1 coexpression, but type II collagen synthesis was not. Stimulation by TAK1a or TGF-beta did not require increased Col2a1 mRNA, and TAK1 actually reduced Col2a1 mRNA in parallel with the cartilage markers, SRY-type HMG box 9 (Sox9) and aggrecan. Thus, TAK1 increased target gene expression (Col2a1) by translational or posttranslational mechanisms as a Smad3-independent response shared by TGF-beta1 and BMP2.

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