Our previous results have shown that transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) rapidly activates Ras, as well as both ERKs and SAPKs. In order to address the biological significance of the activation of these pathways by TGFβ, here we examined the role of the Ras/MAPK pathways and the Smads in TGFβ3 induction of TGFβ1 expression in untransformed lung and intestinal epithelial cells. Expression of either a dominant-negative mutant of Ras (RasN17) or a dominant-negative mutant of MKK4 (DN MKK4), or addition of the MEK1 inhibitor PD98059, inhibited the ability of TGFβ3 to induce AP-1 complex formation at the TGFβ1 promoter, and the subsequent induction of TGFβ1 mRNA. The primary components present in this TGFβ3-inducible AP-1 complex at the TGFβ1 promoter were JunD and Fra-2, although c-Jun and FosB were also involved. Furthermore, deletion of the AP-1 site in the TGFβ1 promoter or addition of PD98059 inhibited the ability of TGFβ3 to stimulate TGFβ1 promoter activity. Collectively, our data demonstrate that TGFβ3 induction of TGFβ1 is mediated through a signaling cascade consisting of Ras, the MAPKKs MKK4 and MEK1, the MAPKs SAPKs and ERKs, and the specific AP-1 proteins Fra-2 and JunD. Although Smad3 and Smad4 were not detectable in TGFβ3-inducible AP-1 complexes at the TGFβ1 promoter, stable expression of dominant-negative Smad3 could significantly inhibit the ability of TGFβ3 to stimulate TGFβ1 promoter activity. Transient expression of dominant-negative Smad4 also inhibited the ability of TGFβ3 to transactivate the TGFβ1 promoter. Thus, although the Ras/MAPK pathways are essential for TGFβ3 induction of TGFβ1, Smads may only contribute to this biological response in an indirect manner.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology