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J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 23;286(51):44023-34. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.265397. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Mutant p53 disrupts role of ShcA protein in balancing Smad protein-dependent and -independent signaling activity of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β).

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Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA.


Biomarkers are lacking for identifying the switch of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) from tumor-suppressing to tumor-promoting. Mutated p53 (mp53) has been suggested to switch TGF-β to a tumor promoter. However, we found that mp53 does not always promote the oncogenic role of TGF-β. Here, we show that endogenous mp53 knockdown enhanced cell migration and phosphorylation of ERK in DU145 prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, ectopic expression of mp53 in p53-null PC-3 prostate cancer cells enhanced Smad-dependent signaling but inhibited TGF-β-induced cell migration by down-regulating activated ERK. Reactivation of ERK by the expression of its activator, MEK-1, restored TGF-β-induced cell migration. Because TGF-β is known to activate the MAPK/ERK pathway through direct phosphorylation of the adaptor protein ShcA and MAPK/ERK signaling is pivotal to tumor progression, we investigated whether ShcA contributed to mp53-induced ERK inhibition and the conversion of the role of TGF-β during carcinogenesis. We found that mp53 expression led to a decrease of phosphorylated p52ShcA/ERK levels and an increase of phosphorylated Smad levels in a panel of mp53-expressing cancer cell lines and in mammary glands and tumors from mp53 knock-in mice. By manipulating ShcA levels to regulate ERK and Smad signaling in human untransformed and cancer cell lines, we showed that the role of TGF-β in regulating anchorage-dependent and -independent growth and migration can be shifted between growth suppression and migration promotion. Thus, our results for the first time suggest that mp53 disrupts the role of ShcA in balancing the Smad-dependent and -independent signaling activity of TGF-β and that ShcA/ERK signaling is a major pathway regulating the tumor-promoting activity of TGF-β.

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