The TGF-β (transforming growth factor-β) system signals via protein kinase receptors and Smad mediators to regulate a plethora of biological processes, including morphogenesis, embryonic development, adult stem cell differentiation, immune regulation, wound healing and inflammation. In addition, alterations of specific components of the TGF-β signalling pathway may contribute to a broad range of pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular pathology, fibrosis and congenital diseases. The knowledge about the mechanisms involved in TGF-β signal transduction has allowed a better understanding of the disease pathogenicity as well as the identification of several molecular targets with great potential in therapeutic interventions.
Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling in endothelial cells is able to modulate angiogenesis and vascular remodeling, although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Endoglin and ALK-1 are components of the TGF-beta receptor complex, predominantly expressed in endothelial cells, and mutations in either endoglin or ALK-1 genes are responsible for the vascular dysplasia known as hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Here we find that the extracellular and cytoplasmic domains of the auxiliary TGF-beta receptor endoglin interact with ALK-1 (a type I TGF-beta receptor). In addition, endoglin potentiates TGF-beta/ALK1 signaling, with the extracellular domain of endoglin contributing to this functional cooperation between endoglin and ALK-1. By contrast, endoglin appears to interfere with TGF-beta/ALK-5 signaling. These results suggest that the functional association of endoglin with ALK-1 is critical for the endothelial responses to TGF-beta.
Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) is a pleiotropic factor with several different roles in health and disease. In tumorigenesis, it may act as a protumorigenic factor and have a profound impact on the regulation of the immune system response. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family that comprises more than 25 members, which have recently been proposed as important regulators acting in tumor stroma by regulating the response of noncellular and cellular microenvironment. Tumor stroma consists of several types of resident cells and infiltrating cells derived from bone marrow, which together play crucial roles in the promotion of tumor growth and metastasis. In cancer cells, TGF-β regulates MMPs expression, while MMPs, produced by either cancer cells or residents' stroma cells, activate latent TGF-β in the extracellular matrix, together facilitating the enhancement of tumor progression. In this review we will focus on the compartment of myeloid stroma cells, such as tumor-associated macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic and mast cells, which are potently regulated by TGF-β and produce large amounts of MMPs. Their interplay and mutual implications in the generation of pro-tumorigenic cancer microenvironment will be analyzed.
TGF-beta1 has been postulated as a pro-oncogenic factor in the late step of the tumoral progression. In transformed cells, TGF-beta1 enhances the capacity to degrade the extracellular matrix, cell invasiveness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which are crucial steps for metastasis. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) are critical components in cell migration and invasion induced by TGF-beta1, however, the exact mechanism by which TGF-beta1 regulates uPA and MMP-9 is not well elucidated so far. In the present study, we analyzed the role of ROS-NFkappaB, signal as mediator in the cell malignity enhancement by TGF-beta1. We found that TGF-beta1 activates NFkappaB, through Rac1-NOXs-ROS-dependent mechanism. Our results shows that TGF-beta1 stimulation of uPA and MMP-9 expression involve NOXs-dependent ROS and NFkappaB, activation, demonstrated by using DPI, NOXs inhibitor, ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine and SN50, an NFkb inhibitor. Furthermore, we found that the inhibition of ROS and NFkappaB, abrogates TGF-beta1 stimulation of EMT, cell motility and invasion. Thus, ROS-NFkappaB acts as the crucial signal in TGF-beta1-induced uPA and MMP-9 expression thereby mediating the enhancement of cellular malignity by TGF-beta1.
Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) and oxidative stress/Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) both have pivotal roles in health and disease. In this review we are analyzing the interplay between TGF-β and ROS in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. They have contradictory roles in cancer progression since both can have antitumor effects, through the induction of cell death, senescence and cell cycle arrest, and protumor effects by contributing to cancer cell spreading, proliferation, survival, and metastasis. TGF-β can control ROS production directly or by downregulating antioxidative systems. Meanwhile, ROS can influence TGF-β signaling and increase its expression as well as its activation from the latent complex. This way, both are building a strong interplay which can be taken as an advantage by cancer cells in order to increment their malignancy. In addition, both TGF-β and ROS are able to induce cell senescence, which in one way protects damaged cells from neoplastic transformation but also may collaborate in cancer progression. The mutual collaboration of TGF-β and ROS in tumorigenesis is highly complex, and, due to their differential roles in tumor progression, careful consideration should be taken when thinking of combinatorial targeting in cancer therapies.
The endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is a critical regulator of cardiovascular homeostasis, whose dysregulation leads to different vascular pathologies. Endoglin is a component of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) receptor complex present in endothelial cells that is involved in angiogenesis, cardiovascular development, and vascular homeostasis. Haploinsufficient expression of endoglin has been shown to downregulate endothelium-derived nitric oxide in endoglin(+/-) (Eng(+/-)) mice and cultured endothelial cells. Here, we find that TGF-beta1 leads to an increased vasodilatation in Eng(+/+) mice that is severely impaired in Eng(+/-) mice, suggesting the involvement of endoglin in the TGF-beta regulated vascular homeostasis. The endoglin-dependent induction of eNOS occurs at the transcriptional level and is mediated by the type I TGF-beta receptor ALK5 and its downstream substrate Smad2. In addition, Smad2-specific signaling is upregulated in endoglin-induced endothelial cells, whereas it is downregulated upon endoglin gene suppression with small interference RNA (siRNA). The endoglin-dependent upregulation of Smad2 was confirmed using eNOS and pARE promoters, whose activities are known to be Smad2 dependent, as well as with the interference of Smad2 with siRNA, Smurf2, or a dominant negative form of Smad2. Furthermore, increased expression of endoglin in endoglin-inducible endothelial cells or in transfectants resulted in increased levels of Smad2 protein without affecting the levels of Smad2 mRNA. The increased levels of Smad2 appear to be due to a decreased ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent degradation leading to stabilization of Smad2. These results suggest that endoglin enhances Smad2 protein levels potentiating TGF-beta signaling, and leading to an increased eNOS expression in endothelial cells.
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are a heterogeneous group of mononuclear and polymorphonuclear myeloid cells, which are present at very low numbers in healthy subjects, but can expand substantially under disease conditions. Depending on disease type and stage, MDSC comprise varying amounts of immature and mature differentiation stages of myeloid cells. Validated unique phenotypic markers for MDSC are still lacking. Therefore, the functional analysis of these cells is of central importance for their identification and characterization. Various disease-promoting and immunosuppressive functions of MDSC are reported in the literature. Among those, the capacity to modulate the activity of T cells is by far the most often used and best-established read-out system. In this review, we critically evaluate the assays available for the functional analysis of human and murine MDSC under in vitro and in vivo conditions. We also discuss critical issues and controls associated with those assays. We aim at providing suggestions and recommendations useful for the contemporary biological characterization of MDSC.
In this study we analyzed the role of the c-Jun Nterminal kinases (JNK) pathway in the TGF-b1 stimulation of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), initial stages of epithelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation (EMT) and cell migration. TGF-b1 induces JNK phosphorylation, c-Jun transactivation and AP1 activation. The involvement of JNK was evaluated using dominant negative mutants SEK-1 AL, JNK and cJun, depletion of JNK1,2 proteins by treatment of cells with antisense oligonucleotides, as well as the chemical inhibitor SP600125. Our results demonstrated that the JNK pathway is required in the TGF-b1 enhancement of uPA, fibronectin, E-cadherin delocalization, actin re-organization and vimentin expression, concomitant with the induction of cell migration. These results allow us to suggest a role of JNK in the TGF-b1 induction of EMT in relation with the stimulation of malignant properties of mouse transformed keratinocytes.
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