In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (53)

Articles by William P. Schiemann in JoVE

Other articles by William P. Schiemann on PubMed

Cross-talk Between ERK and P38 MAPK Mediates Selective Suppression of Pro-inflammatory Cytokines by Transforming Growth Factor-beta

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Apr, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11842088

Phagocytosis of apoptotic cells by macrophages results in the production of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), which plays an important role in induction of an anti-inflammatory phenotype and resolution of inflammation. In this study, we show that TGF-beta prevents pro-inflammatory cytokine production through inhibition of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and NF-kappaB. Blockade of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling by the MEK-1/2 inhibitor PD 98059 reversed the inhibitory effects of TGF-beta, suggesting that cross-talk between MAPKs is essential for this response. Further investigation indicated that TGF-beta activated ERK, which in turn up-regulated MAPK phosphatase-1, thereby inactivating p38 MAPK. On the other hand, TGF-beta maintained or slightly increased production of the CC chemokine MCP-1, which is regulated predominantly by AP-1. Although SB 203580, an inhibitor of p38 MAPK, and dominant-negative p38 MAPK both increased AP-1 transcription, lack of effect of TGF-beta on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated SAPK/JNK phosphorylation along with a demonstrated inhibition of TGF-beta-induced AP-1 activation by dominant-negative Smad3 suggest that TGF-beta-stimulated AP-1 activation was not caused by inhibition of p38 MAPK but rather through the activation of Smads. Our data provide evidence that TGF-beta selectively inhibits inflammatory cytokine production through cross-talk between MAPKs.

Context-specific Effects of Fibulin-5 (DANCE/EVEC) on Cell Proliferation, Motility, and Invasion. Fibulin-5 is Induced by Transforming Growth Factor-beta and Affects Protein Kinase Cascades

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12021267

Fibulin-5 (FBLN-5; also known as DANCE or EVEC) is an integrin-binding extracellular matrix protein that mediates endothelial cell adhesion; it is also a calcium-dependent elastin-binding protein that scaffolds cells to elastic fibers, thereby preventing elastinopathy in the skin, lung, and vasculature. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) regulates the production of cytokines, growth factors, and extracellular matrix proteins by a variety of cell types and tissues. We show here that TGF-beta stimulates murine 3T3-L1 fibroblasts to synthesize FBLN-5 transcript and protein through a Smad3-independent pathway. Overexpression of FBLN-5 in 3T3-L1 cells increased DNA synthesis and enhanced basal and TGF-beta-stimulated activation of ERK1/ERK2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). FBLN-5 overexpression also augmented the tumorigenicity of human HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells by increasing their DNA synthesis, migration toward fibronectin, and invasion through synthetic basement membranes. In stark contrast, FBLN-5 expression was down-regulated in the majority of metastatic human malignancies, particularly in cancers of the kidney, breast, ovary, and colon. Unlike its proliferative response in fibroblasts, FBLN-5 overexpression in mink lung Mv1Lu epithelial cells resulted in an antiproliferative response, reducing their DNA synthesis and cyclin A expression. Moreover, FBLN-5 synergizes with TGF-beta in stimulating AP-1 activity in Mv1Lu cells, an effect that was abrogated by overexpression of dominant-negative versions of either MKK1 or p38 MAPKalpha. Accordingly, both the stimulation and duration of ERK1/ERK2 and p38 MAPK by TGF-beta was enhanced in Mv1Lu cells expressing FBLN-5. Our findings identify FBLN-5 as a novel TGF-beta-inducible target gene that regulates cell growth and motility in a context-specific manner and affects protein kinase activation by TGF-beta. Our findings also indicate that aberrant FBLN-5 expression likely contributes to tumor development in humans.

SPARC Inhibits Epithelial Cell Proliferation in Part Through Stimulation of the Transforming Growth Factor-beta-signaling System

Molecular Biology of the Cell. Oct, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14517312

Secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) is a multifunctional secreted protein that regulates cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, leading to alterations in cell adhesion, motility, and proliferation. Although SPARC is expressed in epithelial cells, its ability to regulate epithelial cell growth remains largely unknown. We show herein that SPARC strongly inhibited DNA synthesis in transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta-sensitive Mv1Lu cells, whereas moderately inhibiting that in TGF-beta-insensitive Mv1Lu cells (i.e., R1B cells). Overexpression of dominant-negative Smad3 in Mv1Lu cells, which abrogated growth arrest by TGF-beta, also attenuated growth arrest stimulated by SPARC. Moreover, the extracellular calcium-binding domain of SPARC (i.e., SPARC-EC) was sufficient to inhibit Mv1Lu cell proliferation but not that of R1B cells. Similar to TGF-beta and thrombospondin-1, treatment of Mv1Lu cells with SPARC or SPARC-EC stimulated Smad2 phosphorylation and Smad2/3 nuclear translocation: the latter response to all agonists was abrogated in R1B cells or by pretreatment of Mv1Lu cells with neutralizing TGF-beta antibodies. SPARC also stimulated Smad2 phosphorylation in MB114 endothelial cells but had no effect on bone morphogenetic protein-regulated Smad1 phosphorylation in either Mv1Lu or MB114 cells. Finally, SPARC and SPARC-EC stimulated TGF-beta-responsive reporter gene expression through a TGF-beta receptor- and Smad2/3-dependent pathway in Mv1Lu cells. Collectively, our findings identify a novel mechanism whereby SPARC inhibits epithelial cell proliferation by selectively commandeering the TGF-beta signaling system, doing so through coupling of SPARC-EC to a TGF-beta receptor- and Smad2/3-dependent pathway.

Development of Human Protein Reference Database As an Initial Platform for Approaching Systems Biology in Humans

Genome Research. Oct, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14525934

Human Protein Reference Database (HPRD) is an object database that integrates a wealth of information relevant to the function of human proteins in health and disease. Data pertaining to thousands of protein-protein interactions, posttranslational modifications, enzyme/substrate relationships, disease associations, tissue expression, and subcellular localization were extracted from the literature for a nonredundant set of 2750 human proteins. Almost all the information was obtained manually by biologists who read and interpreted >300,000 published articles during the annotation process. This database, which has an intuitive query interface allowing easy access to all the features of proteins, was built by using open source technologies and will be freely available at to the academic community. This unified bioinformatics platform will be useful in cataloging and mining the large number of proteomic interactions and alterations that will be discovered in the postgenomic era.

Cloning of a Novel Signaling Molecule, AMSH-2, That Potentiates Transforming Growth Factor Beta Signaling

BMC Cell Biology. Jan, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 14728725

Transforming growth factor-betas (TGF-betas), bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and activins are important regulators of developmental cell growth and differentiation. Signaling by these factors is mediated chiefly by the Smad family of latent transcription factors.

Cystatin C Antagonizes Transforming Growth Factor Beta Signaling in Normal and Cancer Cells

Molecular Cancer Research : MCR. Mar, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15037657

Cystatin C (CystC) is a secreted cysteine protease inhibitor that regulates bone resorption, neutrophil chemotaxis, and tissue inflammation, as well as resistance to bacterial and viral infections. CystC is ubiquitously expressed and present in most bodily fluids where it inhibits the activities of cathepsins, a family of cysteine proteases that can promote cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) is a multifunctional cytokine endowed with both tumor-suppressing and tumor-promoting activities. We show herein that TGF-beta treatment up-regulated CystC transcript and protein in murine 3T3-L1 fibroblasts. Moreover, CystC mRNA expression was down-regulated in approximately 50% of human malignancies, particularly cancers of the stomach, uterus, colon, and kidney. Overexpression of CystC in human HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells antagonized their invasion through synthetic basement membranes in part via a cathepsin-dependent pathway. Independent of effects on cathepsin activity, CystC also reduced HT1080 cell gene expression stimulated by TGF-beta. Invasion of 3T3-L1 cells occurred through both cathepsin- and TGF-beta-dependent pathways. Both pathways were blocked by CystC, but only the TGF-beta-dependent pathway was blocked by a CystC mutant (i.e., delta14CystC) that is impaired in its ability to inhibit cathepsin activity. Moreover, CystC and delta14CystC both inhibited 3T3-L1 cell gene expression stimulated by TGF-beta. We further show that CystC antagonized TGF-beta binding to its cell surface receptors, doing so by interacting physically with the TGF-beta type II receptor and antagonizing its binding of TGF-beta. Collectively, our findings have identified CystC as a novel TGF-beta receptor antagonist, as well as a novel CystC-mediated feedback loop that inhibits TGF-beta signaling.

Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-beta)-resistant B Cells from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients Contain Recurrent Mutations in the Signal Sequence of the Type I TGF-beta Receptor

Cancer Detection and Prevention. 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15041079

B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) is the most common leukemia in western societies, and is currently incurable. B cells of some B-CLL patients are resistant to the anti-proliferative effects of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). Herein, we identified two mutations within the putative signal sequence of TGF-beta type I receptor (TbetaR-I) gene of TGF-beta-resistant B-CLL patients (i.e., a Leu12Gln substitution together with an in-frame single Ala deletion). Although TbetaR-I mutants were expressed to the cell surface and interacted normally with TGF-beta-bound TbetaR-II, their expression significantly reduced gene transcription stimulated by TGF-beta, suggesting a causal relationship in the development of TGF-beta-resistant B-CLL. Screening of additional B-CLL patients solely for the presence of TbetaR-I signal sequence mutations showed that these mutations correlated with and predicted for B-CLL patient insensitivity to TGF-beta. Our results demonstrate that TGF-beta-resistant B-CLL is linked to signal sequence mutations within the TbetaR-I gene, and may eventually be employed as a prognostic indicator in B-CLL.

Pigment Epithelium-derived Factor in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: a Role in Aberrant Angiogenesis

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Aug, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15117744

Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) is a 50-kD protein with angiostatic and neurotrophic activities that regulates vascular development within the eye. PEDF expression was increased in the lungs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) based on microarray analyses. Angiogenesis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of fibrotic lung diseases, we therefore hypothesized that regional abnormalities in vascularization occur in IPF as a result of an imbalance between PEDF and vascular endothelial growth factor. We demonstrated that vascular density is regionally decreased in IPF within the fibroblastic foci, and that within these areas PEDF was increased, whereas vascular endothelial growth factor was decreased. PEDF colocalized with the fibrogenic cytokine, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta 1, particularly within the fibrotic interstitium and the fibroblastic focus, and prominently within the epithelium directly overlying the fibroblastic focus. This suggested that TGF-beta 1 might regulate PEDF expression. Using 3T3-L1 fibroblasts and human lung fibroblasts, we showed that PEDF was indeed a TGF-beta 1 target gene. Collectively, our findings implicate PEDF as a regulator of pulmonary angiogenesis and an important mediator in IPF.

Fibulin-5 Antagonizes Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Signaling and Angiogenic Sprouting by Endothelial Cells

DNA and Cell Biology. Jun, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15231070

Fibulin-5 (FBLN-5) is a widely expressed, integrin-binding extracellular matrix protein that mediates endothelial cell adhesion and scaffolds cells to elastic fibers. It is also a gene target of TGF-beta in fibroblasts and endothelial cells that regulates cell proliferation and motility in a context-specific manner. Whereas FBLN-5 expression is low in adult vasculature, its expression is high in developing and injured vasculature, implicating FBLN-5 in regulating angiogenesis and endothelial cell function. We show here that TGF-beta stimulates FBLN-5 expression in endothelial cells, and that this response was inhibited by coadministration of the proangiogenic factor, VEGF. FBLN-5 expression was downregulated significantly during endothelial cell tubulogenesis, implying that FBLN-5 expression antagonizes angiogenesis. Accordingly, FBLN-5 overexpression in or recombinant FBLN-5 treatment of endothelial cells abrogated their ability to undergo angiogenic sprouting, doing so by inhibiting endothelial cell proliferation and invasion through Matrigel matrices. Moreover, FBLN-5 antagonized VEGF signaling in endothelial cells, as well as enhanced their expression of the antiangiogenic factor, thrombospondin-1. Finally, the ability of FBLN-5 to antagonize angiogenic processes was determined to be independent of its integrin-binding RGD motif. Collectively, our findings establish FBLN-5 as a novel antagonist of angiogenesis and endothelial cell activities, and offer new insights into why tumorigenesis downregulates FBLN-5 expression.

Fibulin-5 Promotes Wound Healing in Vivo

Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Sep, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15325610

Fibulin-5 is a recently discovered multifunctional extracellular matrix protein that mediates endothelial cell adhesion through integrin ligation, regulates cell growth and motility in a context-specific manner, and prevents elastinopathy in vivo. Because fibulin-5 expression is induced dramatically in endothelial and smooth muscle cells in response to mechanical injury, my colleagues and I studied its role in dermal wound healing.

Fibulin-2 and Fibulin-5 Alterations in Tsk Mice Associated with Disorganized Hypodermal Elastic Fibers and Skin Tethering

The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Dec, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15610515

The Tight skin (Tsk) mouse is an important model of skin fibrosis that occurs in systemic sclerosis. These mice develop skin tethering and thickening associated with expression of a mutant fibrillin-1 gene. We show that Tsk fibrillin-1 leads to marked alterations in elastic fibers of the hypodermis of Tsk animals. In Tsk mice, a prominent elastic fiber layer found normally at the interface between hypodermal muscle and connective tissue was absent from an early age. The lack of elastic fibers at the hypodermal muscle-connective tissue (M-CT) interface was associated with a loss of staining for fibulin-5 in the same region. These mice also formed disorganized elastic fibers throughout hypodermal connective tissue as they aged. The increased elastic fibers in Tsk hypodermal connective tissue was associated with increased fibrillin-1 and fibulin-2 matrices. These results suggest that Tsk fibrillin-1 causes skin tethering by altering matrix protein composition in Tsk hypodermal connective tissues. The closely parallel alterations in elastogenesis associated with increased fibulin-2 in hypodermal connective tissues and decreased fibulin-5 at the hypodermal M-CT interface suggest that these proteins mediate the effect of Tsk-fibrillin-1 on elastogenesis.

Identification and Characterization of Regulator of G Protein Signaling 4 (RGS4) As a Novel Inhibitor of Tubulogenesis: RGS4 Inhibits Mitogen-activated Protein Kinases and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Signaling

Molecular Biology of the Cell. Feb, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15548600

Tubulogenesis by epithelial cells regulates kidney, lung, and mammary development, whereas that by endothelial cells regulates vascular development. Although functionally dissimilar, the processes necessary for tubulation by epithelial and endothelial cells are very similar. We performed microarray analysis to further our understanding of tubulogenesis and observed a robust induction of regulator of G protein signaling 4 (RGS4) mRNA expression solely in tubulating cells, thereby implicating RGS4 as a potential regulator of tubulogenesis. Accordingly, RGS4 overexpression delayed and altered lung epithelial cell tubulation by selectively inhibiting G protein-mediated p38 MAPK activation, and, consequently, by reducing epithelial cell proliferation, migration, and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The tubulogenic defects imparted by RGS4 in epithelial cells, including its reduction in VEGF expression, were rescued by overexpression of constitutively active MKK6, an activator of p38 MAPK. Similarly, RGS4 overexpression abrogated endothelial cell angiogenic sprouting by inhibiting their synthesis of DNA and invasion through synthetic basement membranes. We further show that RGS4 expression antagonized VEGF stimulation of DNA synthesis and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/ERK2 and p38 MAPK activation as well as ERK1/ERK2 activation stimulated by endothelin-1 and angiotensin II. RGS4 had no effect on the phosphorylation of Smad1 and Smad2 by bone morphogenic protein-7 and transforming growth factor-beta, respectively, indicating that RGS4 selectively inhibits G protein and VEGF signaling in endothelial cells. Finally, we found that RGS4 reduced endothelial cell response to VEGF by decreasing VEGF receptor-2 (KDR) expression. We therefore propose RGS4 as a novel antagonist of epithelial and endothelial cell tubulogenesis that selectively antagonizes intracellular signaling by G proteins and VEGF, thereby inhibiting cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, and VEGF and KDR expression.

The Use of Cystatin C to Inhibit Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition and Morphological Transformation Stimulated by Transforming Growth Factor-beta

Breast Cancer Research : BCR. 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16168131

Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a potent suppressor of mammary epithelial cell (MEC) proliferation and is thus an inhibitor of mammary tumor formation. Malignant MECs typically evolve resistance to TGF-beta-mediated growth arrest, enhancing their proliferation, invasion, and metastasis when stimulated by TGF-beta. Recent findings suggest that therapeutics designed to antagonize TGF-beta signaling may alleviate breast cancer progression, thereby improving the prognosis and treatment of breast cancer patients. We identified the cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin C (CystC) as a novel TGF-beta type II receptor antagonist that inhibits TGF-beta binding and signaling in normal and cancer cells. We hypothesized that the oncogenic activities of TGF-beta, particularly its stimulation of mammary epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), can be prevented by CystC.

Fibulin-5 Function During Tumorigenesis

Future Oncology (London, England). Feb, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16555973

Tumorigenesis is the process by which normal cells evolve the capacity to evade and overcome the constraints normally placed upon their growth and survival. During cancer progression, indolent tumors experience an array of genetic and epigenetic events that ultimately coordinate the development of tumor metastasis, which is the most lethal facet of cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death. The therapeutic necessity to combat tumor metastasis continues to drive investigations aimed at identifying novel regulators of this deadly process. Fibulin-5 is a newly described extracellular matrix protein that is important for normal embryonic development and organogenesis. Fibulin-5 expression may also be associated with the suppression of tumor formation through its control of cell proliferation, motility and angiogenic sprouting. Here, the tumor suppressing activities of fibulin-5 are reviewed, and the potential use and targeting of fibulin-5 to combat growth and metastasis of human malignancies is discussed.

Fibulins 3 and 5 Antagonize Tumor Angiogenesis in Vivo

Cancer Research. Mar, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16510581

Lethal tumor growth and progression cannot occur without angiogenesis, which facilitates cancer cell proliferation, survival, and dissemination. Fibulins (FBLN) 5 and 3 are widely expressed extracellular matrix proteins that regulate cell proliferation in a context-specific manner. Reduced FBLN-5 expression has been associated with cancer formation and progression in humans, whereas its constitutive expression antagonizes endothelial cell angiogenic sprouting in vitro. Thus, FBLN-5 may suppress tumorigenesis by preventing tumor angiogenesis. FBLN-3 is homologous to FBLN-5 and expressed in endothelial cells, yet its role in tumorigenesis and angiogenesis is unknown. We find FBLN-3 expression to be altered in some human tumors and that its constitutive expression in endothelial cells inhibited their proliferation, invasion, and angiogenic sprouting, as well as their response to vascular endothelial growth factor as measured by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation. In endothelial cells, both FBLNs (a) reduced angiogenic sprouting stimulated by basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF); (b) inhibited matrix metalloproteinase expression and activity; and (c) stimulated tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase expression. More importantly, both FBLNs prevented angiogenesis and vessel infiltration into bFGF-supplemented Matrigel plugs implanted in genetically normal mice, as well as decreased the growth and blood vessel density in tumors produced by MCA102 fibrosarcoma cells implanted s.c. into syngeneic mice. Our findings establish FBLN-3 and FBLN-5 as novel angiostatic agents capable of reducing tumor angiogenesis and, consequently, tumor growth in vivo and suggest that these angiostatic activities may one day be exploited to combat tumor angiogenesis and metastasis in cancer patients.

TGF-beta in Cancer and Other Diseases

Future Oncology (London, England). Apr, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16563087

Beta3 Integrin and Src Facilitate Transforming Growth Factor-beta Mediated Induction of Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition in Mammary Epithelial Cells

Breast Cancer Research : BCR. 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16859511

Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta suppresses breast cancer formation by preventing cell cycle progression in mammary epithelial cells (MECs). During the course of mammary tumorigenesis, genetic and epigenetic changes negate the cytostatic actions of TGF-beta, thus enabling TGF-beta to promote the acquisition and development of metastatic phenotypes. The molecular mechanisms underlying this conversion of TGF-beta function remain poorly understood but may involve signaling inputs from integrins.

Apoptotic Cells, Through Transforming Growth Factor-beta, Coordinately Induce Anti-inflammatory and Suppress Pro-inflammatory Eicosanoid and NO Synthesis in Murine Macrophages

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dec, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17056601

Apoptotic cells are rapidly engulfed by adjacent tissue cells or macrophages before they can release pro-inflammatory/proimmunogenic intracellular contents. In addition, recognition of the apoptotic cells is actively anti-inflammatory and anti-immunogenic with generation of anti-inflammatory mediators such as transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. Here, we have investigated the role played by the induction of TGF-beta in the coordinate expression of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma and in the suppression of pro-inflammatory lipid mediators and nitric oxide (NO). By use of a dominant negative TGFbetaII receptor, TGF-beta signaling was blocked, and its participation in the consequences of apoptotic cell stimulation was determined. The induction of TGF-beta itself could be attributed to exposed phosphatidylserine on the apoptotic cells, which therefore appears to drive the balanced inflammatory mediator responses. Arachidonic acid release, COX-2, and prostaglandin synthase expression were shown to be significantly dependent on the TGF-beta production. On the other hand, a requirement for TGF-beta was also shown in the inhibition of thromboxane synthase and thromboxanes, of 5-lipoxygenase and sulfidopeptide leukotrienes, as well as of inducible nitric-oxide synthase and NO. TGF-beta-dependent induction of arginase was also found and would further limit the NO generation. Finally, apoptotic cells stimulated production of 15-lipoxygenase and 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, a potentially anti-inflammatory pathway acting through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma, and lipoxin A(4) production, which were also up-regulated by a TGF-beta-dependent pathway in this system. These results strongly suggest that the apoptotic cell inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediator production is pleiotropic and significantly dependent on the stimulation of TGF-beta production.

Role of Transforming Growth Factor-beta in Cancer Progression

Future Oncology (London, England). Dec, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17155901

Invasion and metastasis are the most lethal characteristics of cancer and the leading causes of cancer-related death. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is a multifunctional cytokine that normally functions to prevent the uncontrolled proliferation of epithelial, endothelial and hematopoietic cells. Quite dichotomously, however, aberrant genetic or epigenetic events often negate the cytostatic function of TGF-beta in these cells, leading to tumor formation. Once freed from the growth-inhibitory effects of TGF-beta, cancer cells acquire the ability to proliferate, invade and metastasize when stimulated by TGF-beta. A thorough understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying these paradoxical functions of TGF-beta remains elusive. Here, the authors review the tumor-suppressing and -promoting activities of TGF-beta and discuss the potential use and targeting of the TGF-beta-signaling system to prevent the progression and acquisition of metastatic phenotypes by human malignancies.

Src Phosphorylates Tyr284 in TGF-beta Type II Receptor and Regulates TGF-beta Stimulation of P38 MAPK During Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation and Invasion

Cancer Research. Apr, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17440088

Genetic and epigenetic events often negate the cytostatic function of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) in mammary epithelial cells (MEC), which ultimately enables malignant MECs to proliferate, invade, and metastasize when stimulated by TGF-beta. The molecular mechanisms underlying this phenotypic conversion of TGF-beta function during mammary tumorigenesis remain poorly defined. We previously established alpha(v)beta(3) integrin and Src as essential mediators of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation, invasion, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition stimulated by TGF-beta in normal and malignant MECs. Mechanistically, beta(3) integrin interacted physically with the TGF-beta type II receptor (TbetaR-II), leading to its tyrosine phosphorylation by Src and the initiation of oncogenic signaling by TGF-beta. We now show herein that Src phosphorylated TbetaR-II on Y284 both in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, although the expression of Y284F-TbetaR-II mutants in breast cancer cells had no effect on TGF-beta stimulation of Smad2/3, this TbetaR-II mutant completely abrogated p38 MAPK activation by TGF-beta. Accordingly, Src-mediated phosphorylation of Y284 coordinated the docking of the SH2 domains of growth factor receptor binding protein 2 (Grb2) and Src homology domain 2 containing (Shc) TbetaR-II, thereby associating these adapter proteins to MAPK activation by TGF-beta. Importantly, Y284F-TbetaR-II mutants also abrogated breast cancer cell invasion induced by alpha(v)beta(3) integrin and TGF-beta as well as partially restored their cytostatic response to TGF-beta. Our findings have identified a novel alpha(v)beta(3) integrin/Src/Y284/TbetaR-II signaling axis that promotes oncogenic signaling by TGF-beta in malignant MECs and suggest that antagonizing this signaling axis may one day prove beneficial in treating patients with metastatic breast cancers.

Targeted TGF-beta Chemotherapies: Friend or Foe in Treating Human Malignancies?

Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17492924

Transcriptome Analysis of Endothelial Cell Gene Expression Induced by Growth on Matrigel Matrices: Identification and Characterization of MAGP-2 and Lumican As Novel Regulators of Angiogenesis

Angiogenesis. 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17632767

Remodeling of vascular microenvironments during normal and tumor-induced angiogenesis is an important, yet poorly understood mechanism by which endothelial cells (ECs) contribute to the activation or resolution of angiogenesis. We used microarray analyses to monitor changes in the transcriptome of ECs undergoing angiogenesis when cultured onto Matrigel matrices. This strategy identified 308 genes whose expression in ECs was altered at least 3-fold by angiogenesis, of which 63 genes were found to encode for secretory proteins. In vitro assays that modeled key steps in the angiogenic process showed that several identified genes possessed pro- or anti-angiogenic activities (e.g., SMOC-2, secreted modular calcium-binding protein-2; CRELD-2, cysteine-rich with EGF-like domains-1; MAGP-2, microfibril-associated glycoprotein-2; lumican; and ECM-1, extracellular matrix protein-1). In particular, MAGP-2 expression potentiated EC proliferation and p38 MAPK activation stimulated by the pro-angiogenic factors, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); it also stimulated EC invasion and angiogenic sprouting, and more importantly, promoted the development and infiltration of vessels into Matrigel plugs implanted into genetically normal mice. Conversely, lumican inhibited EC activation of p38 MAPK, as well as their invasion, angiogenic sprouting, and vessel formation in mice. Collectively, our findings provide new insights into how EC stromal remodeling regulates angiogenesis activation and resolution, as well as identify two novel EC-secreted stromal proteins that modulate angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo.

Grb2 Binding to Tyr284 in TbetaR-II is Essential for Mammary Tumor Growth and Metastasis Stimulated by TGF-beta

Carcinogenesis. Feb, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18174260

We demonstrated previously that growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2) associates with the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) type II receptor [TbetaR-II] upon its phosphorylation on Tyr284 by Src. Although this phosphotransferase reaction is critical in mediating TGF-beta stimulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion in mammary epithelial cells (MECs), the necessity of Grb2 in promoting these TGF-beta-dependent events remain purely correlative. Herein, we further evaluated the role of Grb2 in mediating the oncogenic activities of TGF-beta and show that the binding of Grb2 to TbetaR-II paralleled the induction of EMT in MECs stimulated by TGF-beta. Introducing siRNAs against Grb2 or expression of a TbetaR-II mutant that cannot bind Grb2 (i.e. Y284F-TbetaR-II) had no effect on the ability of TGF-beta to activate Smad3, but significantly impaired its stimulation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in MECs. Importantly, these same cellular conditions also prevented the ability of MECs to undergo EMT in response to TGF-beta, and to invade synthetic basement membranes when stimulated by beta3 integrin and TGF-beta. Finally, we show that the ability of TGF-beta to stimulate breast cancer growth and pulmonary metastasis in mice required TbetaR-II to be phosphorylated on Tyr284, which activated p38 MAPK in developing and progressing mammary tumors. Collectively, our findings have established the necessity of Grb2 in mediating TGF-beta stimulation of EMT and invasion in MECs, as well as demonstrated the essential function of the alphavbeta3 integrin:Src:phospho-Y284-TbetaR-II:Grb2:p38 MAPK signaling axis to promote breast cancer growth and metastasis in vivo.

Altered TAB1:I KappaB Kinase Interaction Promotes Transforming Growth Factor Beta-mediated Nuclear Factor-kappaB Activation During Breast Cancer Progression

Cancer Research. Mar, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18316610

The conversion of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter occurs frequently during mammary tumorigenesis, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain undefined. We show herein that TGF-beta repressed nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activity in normal NMuMG cells, but activated this transcription factor in their malignant counterparts, 4T1 cells, by inducing assembly of TGF-beta-activated kinase 1 (TAK1)-binding protein 1 (TAB1):I kappaB kinase beta (IKK beta) complexes, which led to the stimulation of a TAK1:IKK beta:p65 pathway. TAB1:IKK beta complexes could only be detected in NMuMG cells following their induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which, on TGF-beta treatment, activated NF-kappaB. Expression of a truncated TAB1 mutant [i.e., TAB1(411)] reduced basal and TGF-beta-mediated NF-kappaB activation in NMuMG cells driven to undergo EMT by TGF-beta and in 4T1 cells stimulated by TGF-beta. TAB1(411) expression also inhibited TGF-beta-stimulated tumor necrosis factor-alpha and cyclooxygenase-2 expression in 4T1 cells. Additionally, the ability of human MCF10A-CA1a breast cancer cells to undergo invasion in response to TGF-beta absolutely required the activities of TAK1 and NF-kappaB. Moreover, small interfering RNA-mediated TAK1 deficiency restored the cytostatic activity of TGF-beta in MCF10A-CA1a cells. Finally, expression of truncated TAB1(411) dramatically reduced the growth of 4T1 breast cancers in syngeneic BALB/c, as well as in nude mice, suggesting a potentially important role of NF-kappaB in regulating innate immunity by TGF-beta. Collectively, our findings have defined a novel TAB1:TAK1:IKK beta:NF-kappaB signaling axis that forms aberrantly in breast cancer cells and, consequently, enables oncogenic signaling by TGF-beta.

Microfibril-associate Glycoprotein-2 (MAGP-2) Promotes Angiogenic Cell Sprouting by Blocking Notch Signaling in Endothelial Cells

Microvascular Research. May, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18417156

Angiogenesis is highly sensitive to the composition of the vascular microenvironment, however, our understanding of the structural and matricellular components of the vascular microenvironment that regulate angiogenesis and the molecular mechanisms by which these molecules function remains incomplete. Our previous results described a novel pro-angiogenic activity for Microfibril-Associated Glycoprotein-2 (MAGP-2), but did not address the molecular mechanism(s) by which this is accomplished. We now demonstrate that MAGP-2 promotes angiogenic cell sprouting by antagonizing Notch signaling pathways in endothelial cells. MAGP-2 decreased basal and Jagged1 induced expression from the Notch sensitive Hes-1 promoter in ECs, and blocked Jagged1 stimulated Notch1 receptor processing in transiently transfected 293T cells. Interestingly, inhibition of Notch signaling by MAGP-2 seems to be restricted to ECs since MAGP-2 increased Hes-1 promoter activity and Notch1 receptor processing in heterologous cell types. Importantly, constitutive activation of the Notch signaling pathway blocked the ability of MAGP-2 to promote angiogenic cell sprouting, as well as morphological changes associated with angiogenesis. Collectively, these observations indicate that MAGP-2 promotes angiogenic cell spouting in vitro by antagonizing Notch signaling pathways in ECs.

Fibulin-5 Initiates Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition (EMT) and Enhances EMT Induced by TGF-beta in Mammary Epithelial Cells Via a MMP-dependent Mechanism

Carcinogenesis. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18713838

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a normal physiological process that regulates tissue development, remodeling and repair; however, aberrant EMT also elicits disease development in humans, including lung fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer cell metastasis. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a master regulator of EMT in normal mammary epithelial cells (MECs), wherein this pleiotropic cytokine also functions as a potent suppressor of mammary tumorigenesis. In contrast, malignant MECs typically evolve resistance to TGF-beta-mediated cytostasis and develop the ability to proliferate, invade and metastasize when stimulated by TGF-beta. It therefore stands to reason that establishing how TGF-beta promotes EMT may offer new insights into targeting the oncogenic activities of TGF-beta in human breast cancers. By monitoring alterations in the actin cytoskeleton and various markers of EMT, we show here that the TGF-beta gene target, fibulin-5 (FBLN5), initiates EMT and enhances that induced by TGF-beta. Whereas normal MECs contain few FBLN5 transcripts, those induced to undergo EMT by TGF-beta show significant upregulation of FBLN5 messenger RNA, suggesting that EMT and the dedifferentiation of MECs override the repression of FBLN5 expression in polarized MECs. We also show that FBLN5 stimulated matrix metalloproteinase expression and activity, leading to MEC invasion and EMT, to elevated Twist expression and to reduced E-cadherin expression. Finally, FBLN5 promoted anchorage-independent growth in normal and malignant MECs, as well as enhanced the growth of 4T1 tumors in mice. Taken together, these findings identify a novel EMT and tumor-promoting function for FBLN5 in developing and progressing breast cancers.

Transcriptional and Translational Regulation of TGF-beta Production in Response to Apoptotic Cells

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Sep, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18714031

Interaction between apoptotic cells and phagocytes through phosphatidylserine recognition structures results in the production of TGF-beta, which has been shown to play pivotal roles in the anti-inflammatory and anti-immunogenic responses to apoptotic cell clearance. Using 3T3-TbetaRII and RAWTbetaRII cells in which a truncated dominant-negative TGF-beta receptor II was stably transfected to avoid autofeedback induction of TGF-beta, we investigate the mechanisms by which TGF-beta was produced through PSRS engagement. We show, in the present study, that TGF-beta was regulated at both transcriptional and translational steps. P38 MAPK, ERK, and JNK were involved in TGF-beta transcription, whereas translation required activation of Rho GTPase, PI3K, Akt, and mammalian target of rapamycin with subsequent phosphorylation of translation initiation factor eukaryotic initiation factor 4E. Strikingly, these induction pathways for TGF-beta production were different from those initiated in the same cells responding to LPS or PMA.

Cox-2 Inactivates Smad Signaling and Enhances EMT Stimulated by TGF-beta Through a PGE2-dependent Mechanisms

Carcinogenesis. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18725385

Although it is well established that mammary tumorigenesis converts transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter, the molecular, cellular and microenvironmental mechanisms underlying the dichotomous nature of TGF-beta in mammary epithelial cells (MECs) remains to be determined definitively. Aberrant upregulation of the inducible cyclooxygenase, Cox-2, occurs frequently in breast cancers and is associated with increasing disease severity and the acquisition of metastasis; however, the impact of Cox-2 expression on normal and malignant MEC response to TGF-beta remains unknown. We show here that TGF-beta induced Cox-2 expression in normal MECs during their acquisition of an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype. Moreover, stable Cox-2 expression in normal MECs stimulated their invasion, EMT and anchorage-independent growth and inhibited their activation of Smad2/3 by TGF-beta. Conversely, antagonizing TGF-beta signaling in malignant, metastatic MECs significantly reduced their expression of Cox-2 as well as enhanced their activation of Smad2/3 by TGF-beta. Along these lines, elevated Cox-2 expression elicited prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) production and the autocrine activation of EP receptors, which antagonized Smad2/3 signaling in normal and malignant MECs. Importantly, rendering normal and malignant MECs Cox-2 deficient inhibited their production of PGE(2) and acquisition of an EMT morphology as well as potentiated their nuclear accumulation of Smad2/3 and transcription of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and p15 messenger RNA. Collectively, our findings establish Cox-2 as a novel antagonist of Smad2/3 signaling in normal and malignant MECs; they also suggest that chemotherapeutic targeting of Cox-2 may offer new inroads in restoring the tumor-suppressing activities of TGF-beta in malignant, metastatic breast cancers.

The TGF-beta Paradox in Human Cancer: an Update

Future Oncology (London, England). Mar, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19284383

TGF-beta plays an essential role in maintaining tissue homeostasis through its ability to induce cell cycle arrest, differentiation and apoptosis, and to preserve genomic stability. Thus, TGF-beta is a potent anticancer agent that prohibits the uncontrolled proliferation of epithelial, endothelial and hematopoietic cells. Interestingly, tumorigenesis typically elicits aberrations in the TGF-beta signaling pathway that engenders resistance to the cytostatic activities of TGF-beta, thereby enhancing the development and progression of human malignancies. Moreover, these genetic and epigenetic events conspire to convert TGF-beta from a suppressor of tumor formation to a promoter of their growth, invasion and metastasis. The dichotomous nature of TGF-beta during tumorigenesis is known as the 'TGF-beta paradox', which remains the most critical and mysterious question concerning the physiopathological role of this multifunctional cytokine. Here we review recent findings that directly impact our understanding of the TGF-beta paradox and discuss their importance to targeting the oncogenic activities of TGF-beta in developing and progressing neoplasms.

X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein and Its E3 Ligase Activity Promote Transforming Growth Factor-{beta}-mediated Nuclear Factor-{kappa}B Activation During Breast Cancer Progression

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19531477

The precise sequence of events that enable mammary tumorigenesis to convert transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter remains incompletely understood. We show here that X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (xIAP) is essential for the ability of TGF-beta to stimulate nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) in metastatic 4T1 breast cancer cells. Indeed whereas TGF-beta suppressed NF-kappaB activity in normal mammary epithelial cells, those engineered to overexpress xIAP demonstrated activation of NF-kappaB when stimulated with TGF-beta. Additionally up-regulated xIAP expression also potentiated the basal and TGF-beta-stimulated transcriptional activities of Smad2/3 and NF-kappaB. Mechanistically xIAP (i) interacted physically with the TGF-beta type I receptor, (ii) mediated the ubiquitination of TGF-beta-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), and (iii) facilitated the formation of complexes between TAK1-binding protein 1 (TAB1) and IkappaB kinase beta that enabled TGF-beta to activate p65/RelA and to induce the expression of prometastatic (i.e. cyclooxygenase-2 and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1) and prosurvival (i.e. survivin) genes. We further observed that inhibiting the E3 ubiquitin ligase function of xIAP or expressing a mutant ubiquitin protein (i.e. K63R-ubiquitin) was capable of blocking xIAP- and TGF-beta-mediated activation of NF-kappaB. Functionally xIAP deficiency dramatically reduced the coupling of TGF-beta to Smad2/3 in NMuMG cells as well as inhibited their expression of mesenchymal markers in response to TGF-beta. More importantly, xIAP deficiency also abrogated the formation of TAB1.IkappaB kinase beta complexes in 4T1 breast cancer cells, thereby diminishing their activation of NF-kappaB, their expression of prosurvival/metastatic genes, their invasion through synthetic basement membranes, and their growth in soft agar. Collectively our findings have defined a novel role for xIAP in mediating oncogenic signaling by TGF-beta in breast cancer cells.

Activated Abl Kinase Inhibits Oncogenic Transforming Growth Factor-beta Signaling and Tumorigenesis in Mammary Tumors

FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Dec, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19690215

Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a ubiquitous cytokine with dual roles in tumor suppression and promotion, and these dichotomous functions have frustrated the development of therapies targeting oncogenic signaling by TGF-beta. In comparison, Abl is well established as an initiator of hematopoietic cancers; however, a clear role for Abl in regulating solid tumor development remains elusive. Here, we investigated the role of Abl in TGF-beta-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in normal and metastatic mammary epithelial cells (MECs). In doing so, we identified Abl as an essential regulator of MEC morphology and showed that Abl inactivation was sufficient to induce phenotypic and transcriptional EMT in normal MECs. Increasing Abl activity in metastatic MECs resulted in their complete morphological reversion, restored their cytostatic response to TGF-beta, and blocked their secretion of matrix metalloproteinases induced by TGF-beta. Constitutively active Abl expression blocked TGF-beta-responsive mammary tumor growth in mice, while Imatinib therapy afforded no clinical benefit in mice bearing mammary tumors. Collectively, this investigation establishes Abl as a potent mediator of MEC identity, and as a suppressor of oncogenic TGF-beta signaling during mammary tumorigenesis. Notably, our findings strongly caution against the use of pharmacological Abl antagonists in the treatment of developing and progressing mammary tumors.

Preclinical Efficacy of Cystatin C to Target the Oncogenic Activity of Transforming Growth Factor Beta in Breast Cancer

Translational Oncology. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19701502

We previously identified cystatin C (CystC) as a novel antagonist of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signaling in normal and malignant cells. However, whether the anti-TGF-beta activities of CystC can be translated to preclinical animal models of breast cancer growth and metastasis remains unproven. Assessing the preclinical efficacy of CystC was accomplished using metastatic 4T1 breast cancer cells, whose oncogenic responses to TGF-beta were inhibited both in vitro and in vivo. Indeed, we observed CystC to prevent TGF-beta from stimulating the growth and pulmonary metastasis of 4T1 tumors in mice in part by reducing the extent of Smad2, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation present in 4T1 tumors. We also found CystC to significantly antagonize angiogenesis in developing 4T1 tumors, suggesting a novel role for CystC in uncoupling TGF-beta signaling in endothelial cells (ECs). Accordingly, CystC dramatically reduced murine and human EC responsiveness to TGF-beta, including their ability to regulate the expression of 1) TGF-beta signaling components, 2) inhibitor of differentiation (ID) family members, and 3) matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors (TIMPs) and to undergo cell invasion and angiogenic sprouting stimulated by TGF-beta. Importantly, CystC prevented TGF-beta from stimulating vessel development in Matrigel plugs implanted into genetically normal mice. Collectively, our findings provide the first preclinical evidence that CystC is efficacious in preventing breast cancer progression and angiogenesis stimulated by the oncogenic TGF-beta signaling system and suggest that CystC-based chemotherapeutics possesses translational efficacy to one day treat and improve the clinical course of late-stage breast cancers.

The Six1 Homeoprotein Induces Human Mammary Carcinoma Cells to Undergo Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition and Metastasis in Mice Through Increasing TGF-beta Signaling

The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Sep, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19726885

Inappropriate activation of developmental pathways is a well-recognized tumor-promoting mechanism. Here we show that overexpression of the homeoprotein Six1, normally a developmentally restricted transcriptional regulator, increases TGF-beta signaling in human breast cancer cells and induces an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) that is in part dependent on its ability to increase TGF-beta signaling. TGF-beta signaling and EMT have been implicated in metastatic dissemination of carcinoma. Accordingly, we used spontaneous and experimental metastasis mouse models to demonstrate that Six1 overexpression promotes breast cancer metastasis. In addition, we show that, like its induction of EMT, Six1-induced experimental metastasis is dependent on its ability to activate TGF-beta signaling. Importantly, in human breast cancers Six1 correlated with nuclear Smad3 and thus increased TGF-beta signaling. Further, breast cancer patients whose tumors overexpressed Six1 had a shortened time to relapse and metastasis and an overall decrease in survival. Finally, we show that the effects of Six1 on tumor progression likely extend beyond breast cancer, since its overexpression correlated with adverse outcomes in numerous other cancers including brain, cervical, prostate, colon, kidney, and liver. Our findings indicate that Six1, acting through TGF-beta signaling and EMT, is a powerful and global promoter of cancer metastasis.

Therapeutic Targeting of the Focal Adhesion Complex Prevents Oncogenic TGF-beta Signaling and Metastasis

Breast Cancer Research : BCR. 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19740433

Mammary tumorigenesis is associated with the increased expression of several proteins in the focal adhesion complex, including focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and various integrins. Aberrant expression of these molecules occurs concomitant with the conversion of TGF-beta function from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter. We previously showed that interaction between beta3 integrin and TbetaR-II facilitates TGF-beta-mediated oncogenic signaling, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and metastasis. However, the molecular mechanisms by which the focal adhesion complex contributes to beta3 integrin:TbetaR-II signaling and the oncogenic conversion of TGF-beta remain poorly understood.

P130Cas is Required for Mammary Tumor Growth and Transforming Growth Factor-beta-mediated Metastasis Through Regulation of Smad2/3 Activity

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dec, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19822523

During breast cancer progression, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) switches from a tumor suppressor to a pro-metastatic molecule. Several recent studies suggest that this conversion in TGF-beta function depends upon fundamental changes in the TGF-beta signaling system. We show here that these changes in TGF-beta signaling are concomitant with aberrant expression of the focal adhesion protein, p130Cas. Indeed, elevating expression of either the full-length (FL) or just the carboxyl terminus (CT) of p130Cas in mammary epithelial cells (MECs) diminished the ability of TGF-beta1 to activate Smad2/3, but increased its coupling to p38 MAPK. This shift in TGF-beta signaling evoked (i) resistance to TGF-beta-induced growth arrest, and (ii) acinar filling upon three-dimensional organotypic cultures of p130Cas-FL or -CT expressing MECs. Furthermore, rendering metastatic MECs deficient in p130Cas enhanced TGF-beta-stimulated Smad2/3 activity, which restored TGF-beta-induced growth inhibition both in vitro and in mammary tumors produced in mice. Additionally, whereas elevating TbetaR-II expression in metastatic MECs had no affect on their phosphorylation of Smad2/3, this event markedly enhanced their activation of p38 MAPK, leading to increased MEC invasion and metastasis. Importantly, depleting p130Cas expression in TbetaR-II-expressing metastatic MECs significantly increased their activation of Smad2/3, which (i) reestablished the physiologic balance between canonical and noncanonical TGF-beta signaling, and (ii) reversed cellular invasion and early mammary tumor cell dissemination stimulated by TGF-beta. Collectively, our findings identify p130Cas as a molecular rheostat that regulates the delicate balance between canonical and noncanonical TGF-beta signaling, a balance that is critical to maintaining the tumor suppressor function of TGF-beta during breast cancer progression.

Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition in Tumor Metastasis: a Method to the Madness

Future Oncology (London, England). Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19852724

Mechanisms of the Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition by TGF-beta

Future Oncology (London, England). Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19852727

The formation of epithelial cell barriers results from the defined spatiotemporal differentiation of stem cells into a specialized and polarized epithelium, a process termed mesenchymal-epithelial transition. The reverse process, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), is a metastable process that enables polarized epithelial cells to acquire a motile fibroblastoid phenotype. Physiological EMT also plays an essential role in promoting tissue healing, remodeling or repair in response to a variety of pathological insults. On the other hand, pathophysiological EMT is a critical step in mediating the acquisition of metastatic phenotypes by localized carcinomas. Although metastasis clearly is the most lethal aspect of cancer, our knowledge of the molecular events that govern its development, including those underlying EMT, remain relatively undefined. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a multifunctional cytokine that oversees and directs all aspects of cell development, differentiation and homeostasis, as well as suppresses their uncontrolled proliferation and transformation. Quite dichotomously, tumorigenesis subverts the tumor suppressing function of TGF-beta, and in doing so, converts TGF-beta to a tumor promoter that stimulates pathophysiological EMT and metastasis. It therefore stands to reason that determining how TGF-beta induces EMT in developing neoplasms will enable science and medicine to produce novel pharmacological agents capable of preventing its ability to do so, thereby improving the clinical course of cancer patients. Here we review the cellular, molecular and microenvironmental mechanisms used by TGF-beta to mediate its stimulation of EMT in normal and malignant cells.

PGE2 Receptor EP2 Mediates the Antagonistic Effect of COX-2 on TGF-beta Signaling During Mammary Tumorigenesis

FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19897661

The molecular mechanisms that enable cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and its mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to inhibit transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling during mammary tumorigenesis remain unknown. We show here that TGF-beta selectively stimulated the expression of the PGE2 receptor EP2, which increased normal and malignant mammary epithelial cell (MEC) invasion, anchorage-independent growth, and resistance to TGF-beta-induced cytostasis. Mechanistically, elevated EP2 expression in normal MECs inhibited the coupling of TGF-beta to Smad2/3 activation and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI1) expression, while EP2 deficiency in these same MECs augmented Smad2/3 activation and PAI expression stimulated by TGF-beta. Along these lines, engineering malignant MECs to lack EP2 expression prevented their growth in soft agar, restored their cytostatic response to TGF-beta, decreased their invasiveness in response to TGF-beta, and potentiated their activation of Smad2/3 and expression of PAI stimulated by TGF-beta. More important, we show that COX-2 or EP2 deficiency both significantly decreased the growth, angiogenesis, and pulmonary metastasis of mammary tumors produced in mice. Collectively, this investigation establishes EP2 as a potent mediator of the anti-TGF-beta activities elicited by COX-2/PGE2 in normal and malignant MECs. Our findings also suggest that pharmacological targeting of EP2 receptors may provide new inroads to antagonize the oncogenic activities of TGF-beta during mammary tumorigenesis.-Tian, M., Schiemann, W. P. PGE2 receptor EP2 mediates the antagonistic effect of COX-2 on TGF-beta signaling during mammary tumorigenesis.

Repo-man Controls a Protein Phosphatase 1-dependent Threshold for DNA Damage Checkpoint Activation

Current Biology : CB. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20188555

In response to DNA damage, cells activate checkpoints to halt cell-cycle progression and prevent genomic instability. Checkpoint activation induced by DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) is dependent on the ATM kinase, a master regulator of the DNA damage response (DDR) that is activated through autophosphorylation and monomerization.

The Pathophysiology of Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition Induced by Transforming Growth Factor-beta in Normal and Malignant Mammary Epithelial Cells

Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia. Jun, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20467795

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an essential process that drives polarized, immotile mammary epithelial cells (MECs) to acquire apolar, highly migratory fibroblastoid-like features. EMT is an indispensable process that is associated with normal tissue development and organogenesis, as well as with tissue remodeling and wound healing. In stark contrast, inappropriate reactivation of EMT readily contributes to the development of a variety of human pathologies, particularly those associated with tissue fibrosis and cancer cell invasion and metastasis, including that by breast cancer cells. Although metastasis is unequivocally the most lethal aspect of breast cancer and the most prominent feature associated with disease recurrence, the molecular mechanisms whereby EMT mediates the initiation and resolution of breast cancer metastasis remains poorly understood. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a multifunctional cytokine that is intimately involved in regulating numerous physiological processes, including cellular differentiation, homeostasis, and EMT. In addition, TGF-beta also functions as a powerful tumor suppressor in MECs, whose neoplastic development ultimately converts TGF-beta into an oncogenic cytokine in aggressive late-stage mammary tumors. Recent findings have implicated the process of EMT in mediating the functional conversion of TGF-beta during breast cancer progression, suggesting that the chemotherapeutic targeting of EMT induced by TGF-beta may offer new inroads in ameliorating metastatic disease in breast cancer patients. Here we review the molecular, cellular, and microenvironmental factors that contribute to the pathophysiological activities of TGF-beta during its regulation of EMT in normal and malignant MECs.

Homeoprotein Six1 Increases TGF-beta Type I Receptor and Converts TGF-beta Signaling from Suppressive to Supportive for Tumor Growth

Cancer Research. Dec, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21056993

The Six1 homeodomain protein is a developmental transcription factor that has been implicated in tumor onset and progression. Our recent work shows that Six1 overexpression in human breast cancer cell lines is sufficient to induce epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis. Importantly, Six1-induced EMT and metastasis are dependent on TGF-β signaling. The TGF-β pathway plays a dual role in cancer, acting as a tumor suppressor in early lesions but enhancing metastatic spread in more advanced tumors. Our previous work indicated that Six1 may be a critical mediator of the switch in TGF-β signaling from tumor suppressive to tumor promotional. However, the mechanism by which Six1 impinges on the TGF-β pathway was, until now, unclear. In this work, we identify the TGF-β type I receptor (TβRI) as a target of Six1 and a critical effector of Six1-induced TGF-β signaling and EMT. We show that Six1-induced upregulation of TβRI is both necessary and sufficient to activate TGF-β signaling and induce properties of EMT. Interestingly, increased TβRI expression is not sufficient to induce experimental metastasis, providing in vivo evidence that Six1 overexpression is required to switch TGF-β signaling to the prometastatic phenotype and showing that induction of EMT is not sufficient to induce experimental metastasis. Together, these results show a novel mechanism for the activation of TGF-β signaling, identify TβRI as a new target of Six1, and implicate Six1 as a determinant of TGF-β function in breast cancer.

Colorectal Cancer in the Cotton Top Tamarin (Saguinus Oedipus): How Do They Evade Liver Metastasis?

Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 20645001

A major cause of cancer-related deaths is the development of liver metastasis. To better understand the metastatic process, we studied the cotton top tamarin as an animal model, which spontaneously develops colorectal cancer but rarely liver metastasis.

Transforming Growth Factor-β and the Hallmarks of Cancer

Cellular Signalling. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 20940046

Tumorigenesis is in many respects a process of dysregulated cellular evolution that drives malignant cells to acquire six phenotypic hallmarks of cancer, including their ability to proliferate and replicate autonomously, to resist cytostatic and apoptotic signals, and to induce tissue invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a potent pleiotropic cytokine that functions as a formidable barrier to the development of cancer hallmarks in normal cells and tissues. Paradoxically, tumorigenesis counteracts the tumor suppressing activities of TGF-β, thus enabling TGF-β to stimulate cancer invasion and metastasis. Fundamental gaps exist in our knowledge of how malignant cells overcome the cytostatic actions of TGF-β, and of how TGF-β stimulates the acquisition of cancer hallmarks by developing and progressing human cancers. Here we review the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the ability of TGF-β to mediate tumor suppression in normal cells, and conversely, to facilitate cancer progression and disease dissemination in malignant cells.

The Cain and Abl of Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition and Transforming Growth Factor-β in Mammary Epithelial Cells

Cells, Tissues, Organs. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21051857

Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) normally inhibits breast cancer development by preventing mammary epithelial cell (MEC) proliferation, by inducing MEC apoptosis, and by creating cell microenvironments that maintain MEC homeostasis and prevent their uncontrolled growth and motility. Mammary tumorigenesis elicits dramatic alterations in MEC architecture and microenvironment integrity, which collectively counteract the tumor-suppressing activities of TGF-β and enable its stimulation of breast cancer invasion and metastasis. How malignant MECs overcome the cytostatic actions imposed by normal microenvironments and TGF-β, and how abnormal microenvironments conspire with TGF-β to stimulate the development and progression of mammary tumors remains largely undefined. These knowledge gaps have prevented science and medicine from implementing treatments effective in simultaneously targeting abnormal cellular microenvironments, and in antagonizing the oncogenic activities of TGF-β in developing and progressing breast cancers. c-Abl is a ubiquitously expressed nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinase that essentially oversees all aspects of cell physiology, including the regulation of cell proliferation, migration and adhesion, as well as that of cell survival. Thus, the biological functions of c-Abl are highly reminiscent of those attributed to TGF-β, including the ability to function as either a suppressor or promoter of tumorigenesis. Interestingly, while dysregulated Abl activity clearly promotes tumorigenesis in hematopoietic cells, an analogous role for c-Abl in regulating solid tumor development, including those of the breast, remains controversial. Here, we review the functions of c-Abl in regulating breast cancer development and progression, and in alleviating the oncogenic activities of TGF-β and its stimulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition during mammary tumorigenesis.

Fibromodulin Suppresses Nuclear Factor-kappaB Activity by Inducing the Delayed Degradation of IKBA Via a JNK-dependent Pathway Coupled to Fibroblast Apoptosis

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21156791

Fibulin-5 (FBLN5) belongs to the Fibulin family of secreted extracellular matrix proteins, and our laboratory first established FBLN5 as a novel target for TGF-β in fibroblasts and endothelial cells. To better understand the pathophysiology of FBLN5, we carried out microarray analysis to identify fibroblast genes whose expressions were regulated by FBLN5 and TGF-β. In doing so, we identified fibromodulin (Fmod) as a novel target gene of FBLN5, and we validated the differential expression of Fmod and 12 other FBLN5-regulated genes by semi-quantitative real time PCR. Fmod belongs to the small leucine-rich family of proteoglycans, which are important constituents of mammalian extracellular matrices. Interestingly, parental 3T3-L1 fibroblasts displayed high levels of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity, although those engineered to express Fmod constitutively exhibited significantly reduced NF-κB activity, suggesting that Fmod functions to inhibit NF-κB signaling. By monitoring alterations in the activation of NF-κB and the degradation of its inhibitor, IκBα, we demonstrate for the first time that Fmod contributes to the constitutive degradation of IκBα protein in 3T3-L1 fibroblasts. Mechanistically, we observed Fmod to delay the degradation of IκBα by promoting the following: (i) activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase; (ii) inhibition of calpain and casein kinase 2 activity; and (iii) induction of fibroblast apoptosis. Taken together, our study identified a novel function for Fmod in directing extracellular signaling, particularly the regulation of NF-κB activity and cell survival.

Noncanonical TGF-β Signaling During Mammary Tumorigenesis

Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21448580

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease comprised of at least five major tumor subtypes that coalesce as the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. Although metastasis clearly represents the most lethal characteristic of breast cancer, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that govern this event remains inadequate. Clinically, ~30% of breast cancer patients diagnosed with early-stage disease undergo metastatic progression, an event that (a) severely limits treatment options, (b) typically results in chemoresistance and low response rates, and (c) greatly contributes to aggressive relapses and dismal survival rates. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a pleiotropic cytokine that regulates all phases of postnatal mammary gland development, including branching morphogenesis, lactation, and involution. TGF-β also plays a prominent role in suppressing mammary tumorigenesis by preventing mammary epithelial cell (MEC) proliferation, or by inducing MEC apoptosis. Genetic and epigenetic events that transpire during mammary tumorigenesis conspire to circumvent the tumor suppressing activities of TGF-β, thereby permitting late-stage breast cancer cells to acquire invasive and metastatic phenotypes in response to TGF-β. Metastatic progression stimulated by TGF-β also relies on its ability to induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the expansion of chemoresistant breast cancer stem cells. Precisely how this metamorphosis in TGF-β function comes about remains incompletely understood; however, recent findings indicate that the initiation of oncogenic TGF-β activity is contingent upon imbalances between its canonical and noncanonical signaling systems. Here we review the molecular and cellular contributions of noncanonical TGF-β effectors to mammary tumorigenesis and metastatic progression.

Lysyl Oxidase Contributes to Mechanotransduction-mediated Regulation of Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling in Breast Cancer Cells

Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.). May, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21532881

Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) regulates all stages of mammary gland development, including the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and the suppression of tumorigenesis in mammary epithelial cells (MECs). Interestingly, mammary tumorigenesis converts TGF-β from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter through molecular mechanisms that remain incompletely understood. Changes in integrin signaling and tissue compliance promote the acquisition of malignant phenotypes in MECs in part through the activity of lysyl oxidase (LOX), which regulates desmoplastic reactions and metastasis. TGF-β also regulates the activities of tumor reactive stroma and MEC metastasis. We show here that TGF-β1 stimulated the synthesis and secretion of LOX from normal and malignant MECs in vitro and in mammary tumors produced in mice. The ability of TGF-β1 to activate Smad2/3 was unaffected by LOX inactivation in normal MECs, whereas the stimulation of p38 MAPK by TGF-β1 was blunted by inhibiting LOX activity in malignant MECs or by inducing the degradation of hydrogen peroxide in both cell types. Inactivating LOX activity impaired TGF-β1-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasion in breast cancer cells. We further show that increasing extracellular matrix rigidity by the addition of type I collagen to three-dimensional organotypic cultures promoted the proliferation of malignant MECs, a cellular reaction that was abrogated by inhibiting the activities of TGF-β1 or LOX, and by degrading hydrogen peroxide. Our findings identify LOX as a potential mediator that couples mechanotransduction to oncogenic signaling by TGF-β1 and suggest that measures capable of inactivating LOX function may prove effective in diminishing breast cancer progression stimulated by TGF-β1.

Down-regulation of Epithelial Cadherin is Required to Initiate Metastatic Outgrowth of Breast Cancer

Molecular Biology of the Cell. Jul, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21613543

Reduced epithelial cadherin (E-cad) is a hallmark of invasive carcinomas that have acquired epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypes. Here we show that down-regulated E-cad expression induced by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and EMT preceded breast cancer outgrowth in three-dimensional (3D) organotypic assays and in the lungs of mice. Pharmacological inhibitors against focal adhesion kinase prevented metastatic outgrowth of newly seeded organoids, but not that of their fully established counterparts. Interrogating the D2-HAN (hyperplastic alveolar nodule) model of breast cancer dormancy and metastasis showed that dormant D2.OR cells produced branched organoid morphologies in 3D-cultures, and expressed robust quantities of E-cad that was uncoupled from regulation by TGF-β. In contrast, metastatic D2.A1 organoids were spherical and wholly lacked E-cad expression. Interestingly, D2.A1 cells engineered to re-express E-cad formed branched organoids, down-regulated β1 integrin expression, and failed to undergo metastatic outgrowth. The tumor-suppressing function of E-cad was inactivated by increased microenvironmental rigidity, and was not recapitulated by expression of an E-cad mutant lacking its extracellular domain. Twist expression, but not that of Snail, reinitiated metastatic outgrowth in dormant D2.OR cells. Our findings show that EMT and its down-regulated expression of E-cad circumvent breast cancer dormancy in part by facilitating β1 integrin expression necessary for metastatic outgrowth.

Krüppel-like Factor 4 Inhibits Tumorigenic Progression and Metastasis in a Mouse Model of Breast Cancer

Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.). Jul, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21750654

Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is a zinc finger transcription factor that functions as an oncogene or tumor suppressor in a highly tissue-specific cell-dependent manner. However, its precise role in breast cancer and metastasis remains unclear. Here, we show that transient adenoviral expression of KLF4 in the 4T1 orthotopic mammary cancer model significantly attenuated primary tumor growth as well as micrometastases to the lungs and liver. These results can be attributed, in part, to decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis. Further supporting a tumor-suppressive role for KLF4 in the breast, we found that KLF4 expression is lost in a mouse model of HER2/NEU/ERBB2-positive breast cancer. To determine whether enforced KLF4 expression could alter tumor latency in these mice, we used a doxycycline-inducible expression model in the context of the MMTV-Neu transgene. Surprisingly, tumors that developed in this model also lost KLF4 expression, suggesting negative selection for sustained expression. We have previously reported that KLF4 inhibits epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a preliminary step in metastatic progression. Overexpression of KLF4 in 4T1 cells led to a significant reduction in the expression of Snail, a key mediator of EMT and metastasis. Conversely, KLF4 silencing increased Snail expression in the nontransformed MCF-10A cell line. Collectively, these data demonstrate the first functional, in vivo evidence for KLF4 as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, our findings suggest an inhibitory role for KLF4 during breast cancer metastases that functions, in part, through repression of Snail.

β3 Integrin-EGF Receptor Cross-talk Activates P190RhoGAP in Mouse Mammary Gland Epithelial Cells

Molecular Biology of the Cell. Nov, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21937717

Active RhoA localizes to plasma membrane, where it stimulates formation of focal adhesions and stress fibers. RhoA activity is inhibited by p190RhoGAP following integrin-mediated cell attachment to allow sampling of new adhesive environments. p190RhoGAP is itself activated by Src-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation, which facilitates complex formation with p120RasGAP. This complex then translocates to the cell surface, where p190RhoGAP down-regulates RhoA. Here we demonstrate that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) cooperates with β3 integrin to regulate p190RhoGAP activity in mouse mammary gland epithelial cells. Adhesion to fibronectin stimulates tyrosine phosphorylation of the EGFR in the absence of receptor ligands. Use of a dominant inhibitory EGFR mutant demonstrates that fibronectin-activated EGFR recruits p120RasGAP to the cell periphery. Expression of an inactive β3 integrin subunit abolishes p190RhoGAP tyrosine phosphorylation, demonstrating a mechanistic link between β3 integrin-activated Src and EGFR regulation of the RhoA inhibitor. The β3 integrin/EGFR pathway also has a positive role in formation of filopodia. Together our data suggest that EGFR constitutes an important intrinsic migratory cue since fibronectin is a key component of the microenvironment in normal mammary gland development and breast cancer. Our data also suggest that EGFR expressed at high levels has a role in eliciting cell shape changes associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.

NetSlim: High-confidence Curated Signaling Maps

Database : the Journal of Biological Databases and Curation. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21959865

We previously developed NetPath as a resource for comprehensive manually curated signal transduction pathways. The pathways in NetPath contain a large number of molecules and reactions which can sometimes be difficult to visualize or interpret given their complexity. To overcome this potential limitation, we have developed a set of more stringent curation and inclusion criteria for pathway reactions to generate high-confidence signaling maps. NetSlim is a new resource that contains this 'core' subset of reactions for each pathway for easy visualization and manipulation. The pathways in NetSlim are freely available at

Role of TGF-β and the Tumor Microenvironment During Mammary Tumorigenesis

Gene Expression. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22268294

Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a multifunctional cytokine that functions to inhibit mammary tumorigenesis by directly inducing mammary epithelial cells (MECs) to undergo cell cycle arrest or apoptosis, and to secrete a variety of cytokines, growth factors, and extracellular matrix proteins that maintain cell and tissue homeostasis. Genetic and epigenetic events that transpire during mammary tumorigenesis typically inactivate the tumor suppressing activities of TGF-beta and ultimately confer this cytokine with tumor promoting activities, including the ability to stimulate breast cancer invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and evasion from the immune system. This dramatic conversion in TGF-beta function is known as the "TGF-beta paradox" and reflects a variety of dynamic alterations that occur not only within the developing mammary carcinoma, but also within the cellular and structural composition of its accompanying tumor microenvironment. Recent studies have begun to elucidate the critical importance of mammary tumor microenvironments in manifesting the TGF-beta paradox and influencing the response of developing mammary carcinomas to TGF-beta. Here we highlight recent findings demonstrating the essential function of tumor microenvironments in regulating the oncogenic activities of TGF-beta and its stimulation of metastatic progression during mammary tumorigenesis.

Deconstructing the Mechanisms and Consequences of TGF-β-induced EMT During Cancer Progression

Cell and Tissue Research. Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 21691718

Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a potent pleiotropic cytokine that regulates mammalian development, differentiation, and homeostasis in essentially all cell types and tissues. TGF-β normally exerts anticancer activities by prohibiting cell proliferation and by creating cell microenvironments that inhibit cell motility, invasion, and metastasis. However, accumulating evidence indicates that the process of tumorigenesis, particularly that associated with metastatic progression, confers TGF-β with oncogenic activities, a functional switch known as the "TGF-β paradox." The molecular determinants governing the TGF-β paradox are complex and represent an intense area of investigation by researchers in academic and industrial settings. Recent findings link genetic and epigenetic events in mediating the acquisition of oncogenic activity by TGF-β, as do aberrant alterations within tumor microenvironments. These events coalesce to enable TGF-β to direct metastatic progression via the stimulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which permits carcinoma cells to abandon polarized epithelial phenotypes in favor of apolar mesenchymal-like phenotypes. Attempts to deconstruct the EMT process induced by TGF-β have identified numerous signaling molecules, transcription factors, and microRNAs operant in mediating the initiation and resolution of this complex transdifferentiation event. In addition to its ability to enhance carcinoma cell invasion and metastasis, EMT also endows transitioned cells with stem-like properties, including the acquisition of self-renewal and tumor-initiating capabilities coupled to chemoresistance. Here, we review recent findings that delineate the pathophysiological mechanisms whereby EMT stimulated by TGF-β promotes metastatic progression and disease recurrence in human carcinomas.

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