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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Smad4 dependency defines two classes of transforming growth factor {beta} (TGF-{beta}) target genes and distinguishes TGF-{beta}-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition from its antiproliferative and migratory responses.

In response to transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), Smad4 forms complexes with activated Smad2 and Smad3, which accumulate in the nucleus, where they both positively and negatively regulate TGF-beta target genes. Mutation or deletion of Smad4 is found in about 50% of pancreatic tumors and in about 15% of colorectal tumors. As Smad4 is a central component of the TGF-beta/Smad pathway, we have determined whether Smad4 is absolutely required for all TGF-beta responses, to evaluate the effect of its loss during human tumor development. We have generated cell lines from the immortalized human keratinocyte cell line HaCaT or the pancreatic tumor cell line Colo-357, which stably express a tetracyline-inducible small interfering RNA targeted against Smad4. In response to tetracycline, Smad4 expression is effectively silenced. Large-scale microarray analysis identifies two populations of TGF-beta target genes that are distinguished by their dependency on Smad4. Some genes absolutely require Smad4 for their regulation, while others do not. Functional analysis also indicates a differential Smad4 requirement for TGF-beta-induced functions; TGF-beta-induced cell cycle arrest and migration, but not epithelial-mesenchymal transition, are abolished after silencing of Smad4. Altogether our results suggest that loss of Smad4 might promote TGF-beta-mediated tumorigenesis by abolishing tumor-suppressive functions of TGF-beta while maintaining some tumor-promoting TGF-beta responses.[1]


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