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Cell Signal. 2011 Jan;23(1):105-13. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2010.08.009. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

ZAS3 accentuates transforming growth factor β signaling in epithelial cells.

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Center for Molecular and Human Genetics, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.


In mammals, the ZAS family of transcription factors activates or represses transcription depending on the cellular context. In the current study, we explored the interaction between ZAS3 and TGFβ1 signaling in epithelial cells using HEK293 cells and the intestinal epithelial cell line, RIE-1. Endogenous ZAS3 expression was detected in each cell line and the small intestine of mice. Additionally, endogenous ZAS3 expression was increased in both whole cell and nuclear lysates by TGFβ1 and in vivo in TGFβ-overexpressing mice, indicating a potential interaction between ZAS3 and TGFβ. ZAS3 transfection enhanced TGFβ1 activation of a luciferase reporter in both HEK293 and RIE-1 cells. Analysis of truncated ZAS3 constructs revealed a 155 amino acid, N-terminal sequence between amino acids 106 and 261 that was required for enhancement of TGFβ1-mediated transcription. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments with nuclear extracts from TGFβ1-stimulated HEK293 cells revealed an association between ZAS3 and the Smad complex. Additionally, transfected ZAS3 decreased the association between the Smad complex and the TGFβ transcriptional repressors Ski and SnoN, indicating a possible mechanism for the enhancement of transcription by exogenous ZAS3. These observations were confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis of ZAS domains homologous with Smad-interacting domains in Ski and SnoN. Finally, ZAS3 transfection enhanced the TGFβ1-mediated induction of α-smooth muscle actin in HEK293 cells, indicating that ZAS3 plays a functional role in TGFβ signaling. In conclusion, we have identified an interaction between ZAS3 and Smad proteins that enhances TGFβ signaling. Since TGFβ signaling is primarily known as a negatively regulated pathway, the enhancement of signaling by ZAS3 has novel implications for understanding TGFβ biology.

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