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Oncogene. 2007 Mar 1;26(10):1417-27. Epub 2006 Sep 4.

Basement membrane component laminin-5 is a target of the tumor suppressor Smad4.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Knappschaftskrankenhaus, IMBL, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


The tumor suppressor Smad4 is involved in carcinogenesis mainly of the pancreas and colon. Functional inactivation of Smad4 is a genetically late event that occurs upon transition from premalignant stages to invasive and metastatic growth. Smad4 encodes an intracellular messenger common to all signalling cascades induced by members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily of cytokines. Despite extensive knowledge about the mechanisms of TGF-beta/Smad signal transduction, little is known about Smad4 targets involved in the transition to malignancy. The hallmark of invasive growth is a breakdown of the basement membrane (BM), a specialized sheet of extracellular matrix produced through cooperation of epithelial and stromal cells. Laminin-5, a heterotrimeric epithelial-derived BM component, is commonly lost in carcinomas but not in premalignant tumors. Herein, we report that in human colon and pancreatic tumor cells, Smad4 functions as a positive transcriptional regulator of all three genes encoding laminin-5. Coordinate re-expression of the three laminin-5 chains induced by reconstitution of Smad4 leads to secretion and deposition of the heterotrimeric molecule in BM-like structures. These data define the expression control of an essential BM component as a novel function for the tumor suppressor Smad4.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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