[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Members of the Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGFβ) superfamily of cytokines are essential for early embryonic development and play crucial roles in pluripotency and differentiation of embryonic stem cells in vitro. SCOPE OF REVIEW: In this review, we discuss how TGFβ family signals are read by cells and how they are modulated by the cellular context. Furthermore, we review recent advances in our understanding of TGFβ function in embryonic stem cells and point out hot topics at the intersection of TGFβ signaling and stem cell biology fields. MAJOR CONCLUSION: TGFβ family signals are essential for early mammalian development and the importance of this pathway is reflected in pluripotent stem cells derived from the mammalian embryo. GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: Understanding signaling pathways underlying pluripotency and cell fate specification holds promises for the advent of personalized regenerative medicine. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biochemistry of Stem Cells.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 09/2012; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Selective autophagy involves the recognition and targeting of specific cargo, such as damaged organelles, misfolded proteins, or invading pathogens for lysosomal destruction. Yeast genetic screens have identified proteins required for different forms of selective autophagy, including cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting, pexophagy and mitophagy, and mammalian genetic screens have identified proteins required for autophagy regulation. However, there have been no systematic approaches to identify molecular determinants of selective autophagy in mammalian cells. Here, to identify mammalian genes required for selective autophagy, we performed a high-content, image-based, genome-wide small interfering RNA screen to detect genes required for the colocalization of Sindbis virus capsid protein with autophagolysosomes. We identified 141 candidate genes required for viral autophagy, which were enriched for cellular pathways related to messenger RNA processing, interferon signalling, vesicle trafficking, cytoskeletal motor function and metabolism. Ninety-six of these genes were also required for Parkin-mediated mitophagy, indicating that common molecular determinants may be involved in autophagic targeting of viral nucleocapsids and autophagic targeting of damaged mitochondria. Murine embryonic fibroblasts lacking one of these gene products, the C2-domain containing protein, SMURF1, are deficient in the autophagosomal targeting of Sindbis and herpes simplex viruses and in the clearance of damaged mitochondria. Moreover, SMURF1-deficient mice accumulate damaged mitochondria in the heart, brain and liver. Thus, our study identifies candidate determinants of selective autophagy, and defines SMURF1 as a newly recognized mediator of both viral autophagy and mitophagy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Hippo pathway senses cell density information to control tissue growth by regulating the localization of the transcriptional regulators TAZ and YAP (TAZ/YAP). TAZ/YAP also regulate TGF-β-SMAD signaling, but whether this role is linked to cell density sensing is unknown. Here we demonstrate that TAZ/YAP dictate the localization of active SMAD complexes in response to cell density-mediated formation of polarity complexes. In high-density cell cultures, the Hippo pathway drives cytoplasmic localization of TAZ/YAP, which sequesters SMAD complexes, thereby suppressing TGF-β signaling. We show that during mouse embryogenesis, this is reflected by differences in TAZ/YAP localization, which define regions of active SMAD2/3 complexes. Interfering with TAZ/YAP phosphorylation drives nuclear accumulation of TAZ/YAP and SMAD2/3. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the Crumbs polarity complex interacts with TAZ/YAP, which relays cell density information by promoting TAZ/YAP phosphorylation, cytoplasmic retention, and suppressed TGF-β signaling. Accordingly, disruption of the Crumbs complex enhances TGF-β signaling and predisposes cells to TGF-β-mediated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of polarity signaling in cancer metastasis is ill defined. Using two three-dimensional culture models of mammary epithelial cells and an orthotopic mouse model of breast cancer, we reveal that Par6 signaling, which is regulated directly by TGFbeta, plays a role in breast cancer metastasis. Interference with Par6 signaling blocked TGFbeta-dependent loss of polarity in acini-like structures formed by non-transformed mammary cells grown in three-dimensional structures and suppressed the protrusive morphology of mesenchymal-like invasive mammary tumor cells without rescuing E-cadherin expression. Moreover, blockade of Par6 signaling in an in vivo orthotopic model of metastatic breast cancer induced the formation of ZO-1-positive epithelium-like structures in the primary tumor and suppressed metastasis to the lungs. Analysis of the pathway in tissue microarrays of human breast tumors further revealed that Par6 activation correlated with markers of the basal carcinoma subtype in BRCA1-associated tumors. These studies thus reveal a key role for polarity signaling and the control of morphologic transformation in breast cancer metastasis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2009; 106(33):14028-33. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Planar cell polarity (PCP) is critical for morphogenesis in metazoans. PCP in vertebrates regulates stereocilia alignment in neurosensory cells of the cochlea and closure of the neural tube through convergence and extension movements (CE). Noncanonical Wnt morphogens regulate PCP and CE in vertebrates, but the molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Smurfs are ubiquitin ligases that regulate signaling, cell polarity and motility through spatiotemporally restricted ubiquitination of diverse substrates. Here, we report an unexpected role for Smurfs in controlling PCP and CE. Mice mutant for Smurf1 and Smurf2 display PCP defects in the cochlea and CE defects that include a failure to close the neural tube. Further, we show that Smurfs engage in a noncanonical Wnt signaling pathway that targets the core PCP protein Prickle1 for ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Our work thus uncovers ubiquitin ligases in a mechanistic link between noncanonical Wnt signaling and PCP/CE.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Goosecoid (Gsc), a paired-like homeobox gene expressed in the vertebrate organizer, functions as a transcriptional repressor either by direct DNA binding to paired TAAT homeodomain sites or through recruitment by the forkhead/winged helix transcription factor Foxh1. Here, we report that Gsc is post-translationally modified by small ubiquitin-like modifier proteins (SUMO). Members of the PIAS family of proteins enhance Gsc sumoylation and this modification occurs on at least six lysine residues. Stable expression of a SUMO-defective Gsc mutant (Gsc 6Km) in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells results in morphological changes giving rise to cells with increased cell area. We demonstrate that Gsc 6Km can effectively repress Foxh1-mediated induction of the Mixl1 promoter, indicating that sumoylation is not required for Gsc-mediated repression of promoters where recruitment occurs through Foxh1. In contrast, Gsc 6Km exhibits a decreased ability to repress the induction of promoters to which it is directly recruited through paired-homeodomain binding sites, including its own promoter and that of the Xenopus Brachyury gene. Taken together, our data suggests that regulation of Gsc repressive activity by SUMO modification is promoter specific and may serve to differentially regulate genes that function to control cell morphology during early development and cancer.
Experimental Cell Research 05/2008; 314(7):1585-94. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Foxh1, a Smad DNA-binding partner, mediates TGFbeta-dependent gene expression during early development. Few Foxh1 targets are known. Here, we describe a genome-wide approach that we developed that couples systematic mapping of a functional Smad/Foxh1 enhancer (SFE) to Site Search, a program used to search annotated genomes for composite response elements. Ranking of SFEs that are positionally conserved across species yielded a set of genes enriched in Foxh1 targets. Analysis of top candidates, such as Hesx1, Lgr4, Lmo1, Fgf8, and members of the Aldh1a subfamily, revealed that Foxh1 initiates a transcriptional regulatory network within the developing anterior neuroectoderm. The Aldh1a family is required for retinoic acid (RA) synthesis, and, in Foxh1 mutants, expression of Aldh1a1, -2, and -3 and activation of a RA-responsive transgenic reporter is abolished in anterior structures. Integrated mapping of a developmental transcription factor network thus reveals a key role for Foxh1 in patterning and initiating RA signaling in the forebrain.