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Cell Cycle. 2009 Jan 15;8(2):284-98.

Ras alters epithelial-mesenchymal transition in response to TGFbeta by reducing actin fibers and cell-matrix adhesion.

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Department of Cancer Genetics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA


TGF-beta and Ras regulate epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that contributes to tumor invasion and metastasis. The interaction of these pathways in EMT is still poorly understood. Here, we show that TGF-beta induces EMT but limits cell invasion whereas hyperactivated Ras (H-RasV12) does not cause EMT but enhances cell invasion, alleviating the inhibitory effect of TGF-beta. TGF-beta disrupts cell junctions and induces tropomyosin-mediated actin fibers and matrix adhesion. Smad transcription factors mediate both steps of the TGF-beta-induced EMT whereas RasV12 inhibits the second step by blocking the induction of tropomyosins (TPM1) and reducing cell-matrix adhesion and integrin signaling. RasV12 prevents binding of Smads to the TPM1 promoter by forcing CRM1-dependent nuclear export of Smad4. Soft agar and animal studies demonstrate that RasV12 confers the metastatic potential in epithelial cells, whereas tropomyosin suppresses tumor growth and metastases. Thus, TGF-beta-induced EMT is not sufficient for the acquisition of the invasive potential and activated Ras alters this TGF-beta response, conferring the tumorigenic and invasive potential.

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