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Cancer Biol Ther. 2007 Aug;6(8):1313-7.

BMP suppresses PTEN expression via RAS/ERK signaling.

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Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, USA.


Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), a member of the transforming growth factor beta family, classically utilizes the SMAD signaling pathway for its growth suppressive effects,and loss of this signaling cascade may accelerate cell growth. In the colon cancer predisposition syndrome Juvenile Polyposis, as well as in the late progression stages of nonsyndromic colorectal cancers, SMAD4 function is typically abrogated. Here, we utilized the SMAD4-null SW480 colon cancer cell line to examine BMPs effect on a potential target gene, PTEN, and how its expression might be regulated. Initial treatment of the SMAD4-null cells with BMP resulted in mild growth suppression, but with prolonged exposure to BMP, the cells become growth stimulatory, which coincided with observed decreases in transcription and translation of PTEN, and with corresponding increases in phospho-AKT protein levels. BMP-induced PTEN suppression was mediated via the RAS/ERK pathway, as pharmacologic inhibition of RAS/ERK, or interference with protein function in the cytosol by DN-RAS prevented BMP-induced growth promotion and changes in PTEN levels, as did treatment with noggin, a BMP ligand inhibitor. Thus, BMP downregulates PTEN via RAS/ERK in a SMAD4-null environment that contributes to cell growth, and constitutes a SMAD4-independent but BMP-responsive signaling pathway.

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