Wei He

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (5)66.9 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The transcription factors Smad2 and Smad3 mediate a large set of gene responses induced by the cytokine transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta), but the extent to which their function depends on chromatin remodeling remains to be defined. We observed interactions between these two Smads and BRG1, BAF250b, BAF170, and BAF155, which are core components of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex. Smad2 and Smad3 have similar affinity for these components in vitro, and their interactions are primarily mediated by BRG1. In vivo, however, BRG1 predominantly interacts with Smad3, and this interaction is enhanced by TGFbeta stimulation. Our results suggest that BRG1 is incorporated into transcriptional complexes that are formed by activated Smads in the nucleus, on target promoters. Using BRG1-deficient cell systems, we defined the BRG1 dependence of the TGFbeta transcriptional program genome-wide. Most TGFbeta gene responses in human epithelial cells are dependent on BRG1 function. Remarkably, BRG1 is not required for the TGFbeta-mediated induction of SMAD7 and SNON, which encode key mediators of negative feedback in this pathway. Our results provide a genome-wide scope of the participation of BRG1 in TGFbeta action and suggest a widespread yet differential involvement of BRG1 SWI/SNF remodeler in the transcriptional response of many genes to this cytokine.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2008; 283(2):1146-55. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signals through activation of Smad transcription factors. Activated Smad proteins associate with different DNA-binding cofactors for the recognition and regulation of specific target genes. Members of the forkhead box O family (FoxO1, FoxO3, and FoxO4) play such a role in the induction of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p15Ink4b and p21Cip1. To delineate the organization of the TGF-beta response in human keratinocytes, we defined the set of genes whose activation by TGF-beta requires both FoxO and Smad functions. FoxO factors are shown to be essential for 11 of the 115 immediate gene activation responses to TGF-beta in these cells. FoxO1, FoxO3, and FoxO4 act redundantly as mediators of these effects. Smad4, which functions as a partner of receptor-phosphorylated Smad2/3, is required for all of these responses. These results define a FoxO-Smad synexpression group or group of genes that are jointly induced by a common mechanism in response to TGF-beta. In addition to p15INK4b and p21CIP1, these genes include mediators of stress responses (GADD45A, GADD45B, and IER1) and adaptive cell signaling responses (CTGF, JAG1, LEMD3, SGK, CDC42EP3, and OVOL1). Bioinformatic analysis of the promoter region of these genes reveals diverse configurations of Smad and FoxO binding elements, implying differences in the regulatory properties of this group of genes. Indeed, a subset of FoxO/Smad-dependent TGF-beta gene responses additionally require the transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta. The composition of the FoxO-Smad synexpression group suggests that stress reactions and adaptive functions accompany the cytostatic response of keratinocytes to TGF-beta.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2006; 103(34):12747-52. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue homeostasis in mammals relies on powerful cytostatic and differentiation signals delivered by the cytokine TGFbeta and relayed within the cell via the activation of Smad transcription factors. Formation of transcription regulatory complexes by the association of Smad4 with receptor-phosphorylated Smads 2 and 3 is a central event in the canonical TGFbeta pathway. Here we provide evidence for a branching of this pathway. The ubiquitious nuclear protein Transcriptional Intermediary Factor 1gamma (TIF1gamma) selectively binds receptor-phosphorylated Smad2/3 in competition with Smad4. Rapid and robust binding of TIF1gamma to Smad2/3 occurs in hematopoietic, mesenchymal, and epithelial cell types in response to TGFbeta. In human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, where TGFbeta inhibits proliferation and stimulates erythroid differentiation, TIF1gamma mediates the differentiation response while Smad4 mediates the antiproliferative response with Smad2/3 participating in both responses. Thus, Smad2/3-TIF1gamma and Smad2/3-Smad4 function as complementary effector arms in the control of hematopoietic cell fate by the TGFbeta/Smad pathway.
    Cell 07/2006; 125(5):929-41. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TGF-beta can signal by means of Smad transcription factors, which are quintessential tumor suppressors that inhibit cell proliferation, and by means of Smad-independent mechanisms, which have been implicated in tumor progression. Although Smad mutations disable this tumor-suppressive pathway in certain cancers, breast cancer cells frequently evade the cytostatic action of TGF-beta while retaining Smad function. Through immunohistochemical analysis of human breast cancer bone metastases and functional imaging of the Smad pathway in a mouse xenograft model, we provide evidence for active Smad signaling in human and mouse bone-metastatic lesions. Genetic depletion experiments further demonstrate that Smad4 contributes to the formation of osteolytic bone metastases and is essential for the induction of IL-11, a gene implicated in bone metastasis in this mouse model system. Activator protein-1 is a key participant in Smad-dependent transcriptional activation of IL-11 and its overexpression in bone-metastatic cells. Our findings provide functional evidence for a switch of the Smad pathway, from tumor-suppressor to prometastatic, in the development of breast cancer bone metastasis.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2005; 102(39):13909-14. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) regulate multiple cellular processes, including cell differentiation and migration. Their signals are transduced by the kinase receptors BMPR-I and BMPR-II, leading to Smad transcription factor activation via BMPR-I. LIM kinase (LIMK) 1 is a key regulator of actin dynamics as it phosphorylates and inactivates cofilin, an actin depolymerizing factor. During a search for LIMK1-interacting proteins, we isolated clones encompassing the tail region of BMPR-II. Although the BMPR-II tail is not involved in BMP signaling via Smad proteins, mutations truncating this domain are present in patients with primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). Further analysis revealed that the interaction between LIMK1 and BMPR-II inhibited LIMK1's ability to phosphorylate cofilin, which could then be alleviated by addition of BMP4. A BMPR-II mutant containing the smallest COOH-terminal truncation described in PPH failed to bind or inhibit LIMK1. This study identifies the first function of the BMPR-II tail domain and suggests that the deregulation of actin dynamics may contribute to the etiology of PPH.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 10/2003; 162(6):1089-98. · 10.82 Impact Factor