A Large Bioactive BMP Ligand with Distinct Signaling Properties Is Produced by Alternative Proconvertase Processing

Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.
Science Signaling (Impact Factor: 6.28). 04/2012; 5(218):ra28. DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002549
Source: PubMed


Dimers of conventional transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) ligands are composed of two 100- to 140-amino acid peptides that are produced through the proteolytic processing of a proprotein precursor by proconvertases, such as furin. We report the identification of an evolutionarily conserved furin processing site in the amino terminus (NS) of the Glass bottom boat (Gbb; the Drosophila ortholog of vertebrate BMP5, 6, and 7) proprotein that generates a 328-amino acid, active BMP ligand distinct from the conventional 130-amino acid ligand. Gbb38, the large ligand form of Gbb, exhibited greater signaling activity and a longer range than the shorter form Gbb15. The abundance of Gbb15 and Gbb38 varied among different tissues, raising the possibility that differential processing could account for tissue-specific behaviors of BMPs. In human populations, mutations that abolished the NS cleavage site in BMP4, BMP15, or anti-Müllerian hormone were associated with cleft lip with or without cleft palate (BMP4), premature ovarian failure (BMP15), and persistent Müllerian duct syndrome (anti-Müllerian hormone), suggesting the importance of NS processing during development. The identification of this large BMP ligand form and the functional differences between large and small ligands exemplifies the potential for differential proprotein processing to substantially affect BMP and TGF-β signaling output in different tissue and cellular contexts.

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    • "(see 3.3). In contrast, the role of dFURINS in processing bone morphogenetic protein signals (Glass bottom boat, Screw) is well investigated [81] [82] [83] "
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    ABSTRACT: Signaling molecules of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β family are generated from proprotein precursors containing prodomain sequences that are typically removed to allow signaling by the mature ligands. A form of a TGF-β family ligand that remains covalently attached to its prodomain but retains signaling activity has been identified. Glass bottom boat (Gbb), a Drosophila homolog of the bone morphogenetic protein 5/6/7/8 subfamily, is active as a carboxyl-terminal fragment of the proprotein (Gbb15) that is generated by a conventional processing event common to TGF-β ligands. Unexpectedly, a larger form (Gbb38) produced by processing at a newly identified furin site in the prodomain is also secreted and active. Contrary to the present paradigm in which TGF-β ligands require dissociation of the entire prodomain for activity, Gbb38 is active in cell culture and in vivo without additional processing at conventional sites. The large form can restore the viability of gbb mutant animals but has distinct signaling properties compared with the conventional form. Production of multiple functional ligands from one proprotein is a potential mechanism to fine-tune TGF-β signaling outputs. Mutations in TGF-β family members have been linked to human diseases, several of which affect potential furin cleavage sites in prodomains. However, given the diversity of potential furin processing sites and prodomain functions, direct experimentation will be required to determine whether production of active jumbo ligands is a general feature of TGF-β superfamily members.
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