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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jul 13;282(28):20603-11. Epub 2007 May 10.

Selective inhibitory effects of Smad6 on bone morphogenetic protein type I receptors.

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Department of Molecular Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


The inhibitory Smads, Smad6 and Smad7, play pivotal roles in negative regulation of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) family signaling as feedback molecules as well as mediators of cross-talk with other signaling pathways. Whereas Smad7 acts as a ubiquitous inhibitor of Smad signaling, Smad6 has been shown to effectively inhibit bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling but only weakly TGF-beta/activin signaling. In the present study, we have found that Smad6 inhibits signaling from the activin receptor-like kinase (ALK)-3/6 subgroup in preference to that from the ALK-1/2 subgroup of BMP type I receptors. The difference is attributable to the interaction of Smad6 with these BMP type I receptors. The amino acid residues responsible for Smad6 sensitivity of ALK-3 were identified as Arg-238, Phe-264, Thr-265, and Ala-269, which map to the N-terminal lobe of the ALK-3 kinase domain. Although Smad6 regulates BMP signaling through multiple mechanisms, our findings suggest that interaction with type I receptors is a critical step in the function of Smad6.

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