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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Jan;19(1):248-61. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

The SPARC-related factor SMOC-2 promotes growth factor-induced cyclin D1 expression and DNA synthesis via integrin-linked kinase.

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The Department of Genetics and Genomics and The Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Secreted modular calcium-binding protein-2 (SMOC-2) is a recently-identified SPARC-related protein of unknown function. In mRNA profiling experiments we, found that SMOC-2 expression was elevated in quiescent (G0) mouse fibroblasts and repressed after mitogenic stimulation with serum. The G0-specific expression of SMOC-2 was similar to that of platelet-derived growth factor-beta receptor (PDGFbetaR), a major mitogenic receptor. Therefore, we tested a possible role for SMOC-2 in growth factor-induced cell cycle progression. SMOC-2 overexpression augmented DNA synthesis induced by serum and fibroblast mitogens (including PDGF-BB and basic fibroblast growth factor). Conversely, SMOC-2 ablation by using small interfering RNA attenuated DNA synthesis in response to PDGF-BB and other growth factors. Mitogen-induced expression of cyclin D1 was attenuated in SMOC-2-ablated cells, and cyclin D1-overexpressing cells were resistant to inhibition of mitogenesis after SMOC-2 ablation. Therefore, cyclin D1 is limiting for G1 progression in SMOC-2-deficient cells. SMOC-2 ablation did not inhibit PDGF-induced PDGFbetaR autophosphorylation or PDGF-BB-dependent activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and Akt kinases, suggesting that SMOC-2 is dispensable for growth factor receptor activation. However, integrin-linked kinase (ILK) activity was reduced in SMOC-2-ablated cells. Ectopic expression of hyperactive ILK corrected the defective mitogenic response of SMOC-2-deficient cells. Therefore, SMOC-2 contributes to cell cycle progression by maintaining ILK activity during G1. These results identify a novel role for SMOC-2 in cell cycle control.

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