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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jul;1793(7):1165-73. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2009.02.001. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

TGF-beta receptor levels regulate the specificity of signaling pathway activation and biological effects of TGF-beta.

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Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, WA 98109, USA.


TGF-beta is a pluripotent cytokine that mediates its effects through a receptor composed of TGF-beta receptor type II (TGFBR2) and type I (TGFBR1). The TGF-beta receptor can regulate Smad and nonSmad signaling pathways, which then ultimately dictate TGF-beta's biological effects. We postulated that control of the level of TGFBR2 is a mechanism for regulating the specificity of TGF-beta signaling pathway activation and TGF-beta's biological effects. We used a precisely regulatable TGFBR2 expression system to assess the effects of TGFBR2 expression levels on signaling and TGF-beta mediated apoptosis. We found Smad signaling and MAPK-ERK signaling activation levels correlate directly with TGFBR2 expression levels. Furthermore, p21 levels and TGF-beta induced apoptosis appear to depend on relatively high TGFBR2 expression and on the activation of the MAPK-ERK and Smad pathways. Thus, control of TGFBR2 expression and the differential activation of TGF-beta signaling pathways appears to be a mechanism for regulating the specificity of the biological effects of TGF-beta.

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