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#28938007   2017/09/22 Save this To Up

Neuropilin-1 modulates TGFβ signaling to drive glioblastoma growth and recurrence after anti-angiogenic therapy.

Glioblastoma (GBM) is a rapidly progressive brain cancer that exploits the neural microenvironment, and particularly blood vessels, for selective growth and survival. Anti-angiogenic agents such as the vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) blocking antibody bevacizumab yield short-term benefits to patients due to blood vessel regression and stabilization of vascular permeability. However, tumor recurrence is common, and this is associated with acquired resistance to bevacizumab. The mechanisms that drive acquired resistance and tumor recurrence in response to anti-angiogenic therapy remain largely unknown. Here, we report that Neuropilin-1 (Nrp1) regulates GBM growth and invasion by balancing tumor cell responses to VEGF-A and transforming growth factor βs (TGFβs). Nrp1 is expressed in GBM cells where it promotes TGFβ receptor internalization and signaling via Smad transcription factors. GBM that recur after bevacizumab treatment show down-regulation of Nrp1 expression, indicating that altering the balance between VEGF-A and TGFβ signaling is one mechanism that promotes resistance to anti-angiogenic agents. Collectively, these data reveal that Nrp1 plays a critical role in balancing responsiveness to VEGF-A versus TGFβ to regulate GBM growth, progression, and recurrence after anti-vascular therapy.

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#28698257   2017/07/12 Save this To Up

Brain Transforming Growth Factor-β Resists Hypertension Via Regulating Microglial Activation.

Hypertension is the major risk factor for stroke. Recent work unveiled that hypertension is associated with chronic neuroinflammation; microglia are the major players in neuroinflammation, and the activated microglia elevate sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressure. This study is to understand how brain homeostasis is kept from hypertensive disturbance and microglial activation at the onset of hypertension.

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#28228478   2017/02/23 Save this To Up

An engineered transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) monomer that functions as a dominant negative to block TGF-β signaling.

The transforming growth factor β isoforms, TGF-β1, -β2, and -β3, are small secreted homodimeric signaling proteins with essential roles in regulating the adaptive immune system and maintaining the extracellular matrix. However, dysregulation of the TGF-β pathway is responsible for promoting the progression of several human diseases, including cancer and fibrosis. Despite the known importance of TGF-βs in promoting disease progression, no inhibitors have been approved for use in humans. Herein, we describe an engineered TGF-β monomer, lacking the heel helix, a structural motif essential for binding the TGF-β type I receptor (TβRI) but dispensable for binding the other receptor required for TGF-β signaling, the TGF-β type II receptor (TβRII), as an alternative therapeutic modality for blocking TGF-β signaling in humans. As shown through binding studies and crystallography, the engineered monomer retained the same overall structure of native TGF-β monomers and bound TβRII in an identical manner. Cell-based luciferase assays showed that the engineered monomer functioned as a dominant negative to inhibit TGF-β signaling with a Ki of 20-70 nm Investigation of the mechanism showed that the high affinity of the engineered monomer for TβRII, coupled with its reduced ability to non-covalently dimerize and its inability to bind and recruit TβRI, enabled it to bind endogenous TβRII but prevented it from binding and recruiting TβRI to form a signaling complex. Such engineered monomers provide a new avenue to probe and manipulate TGF-β signaling and may inform similar modifications of other TGF-β family members.

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#28202676   2017/02/16 Save this To Up

Harnessing the BMP signaling pathway to control the formation of cancer stem cells by effects on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) persist in tumors as a distinct population and may be causative in metastasis and relapse. CSC-rich tumors are associated with higher rates of metastasis and poor patient prognosis. Targeting CSCs therapeutically is challenging, since they seem to be resistant to standard chemotherapy. We have shown that a novel peptide agonist of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, P123, is capable of inhibiting the growth of primary tumor cells by interacting with type I receptors selectively [activin receptor-like kinase 2 (ALK2) and ALK3, but not ALK6] and type II BMP receptors, activating SMAD 1/5/8 signaling and controlling the cell cycle pathway. Furthermore, the compound is capable of blocking transforming growth factor-β induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in primary tumor cells, a critical step for tumor progression and metastasis. In addition, we have investigated the effects of P123 on self-renewal, growth, differentiation (reversal of EMT) and apoptosis of isolated human breast CSCs. We have shown that P123 and BMP-7 reverse the EMT process in human breast CSCs, and inhibit self-renewal and growth. Moreover, compared with single treatment with paclitaxel, co-treatment with paclitaxel and P123 showed an increase in cell apoptosis. Together, these findings suggest that P123 has the therapeutic potential to suppress both bulk tumor cells and CSCs. We believe that P123 represents a new class of drugs that have the potential to eliminate the primary tumor, prevent reoccurrence and metastasis, and enhance the treatment of breast cancer.

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#28065931   2017/01/09 Save this To Up

Intermedin 1-53 Inhibits Myocardial Fibrosis in Rats by Down-Regulating Transforming Growth Factor-β.

BACKGROUND Myocardial fibrosis is the result of persistent anoxia and ischemic myocardial fibers caused by coronary atherosclerotic stenosis, which lead to heart failure, threatening the patient's life. This study aimed to explore the regulatory role of intermedin 1-53 (IMD1-53) in cardiac fibrosis using neonatal rat cardiac fibroblasts and a myocardial infarction (MI) rat model both in vitro and in vivo. MATERIAL AND METHODS The Western blot method was used to detect the protein expression of collagen I and collagen III in myocardial fibroblasts. The SYBR Green I real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to detect the mRNA expression of collagen type I and III, IMD1-53 calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2). Masson staining was used to detect the area changes of myocardial fibrosis in MI rats. RESULTS Results in vivo showed that IMD1-53 reduced the scar area on the heart of MI rats and inhibited the expression of collagen type I and III both in mRNA and protein. Results of an in vitro study showed that IMD1-53 inhibited the transformation of cardiomyocytes into myofibroblasts caused by angiotensin II (Ang II). The further mechanism study showed that IMD1-53 inhibited the expression of TGF-β and the phosphorylation of smad3, which further up-regulated the expression of MMP-2. CONCLUSIONS IMD1-53 is an effective anti-fibrosis hormone that inhibits cardiac fibrosis formation after MI by down-regulating the expression of TGF-β and the phosphorylation of smad3, blocking fibrous signal pathways, and up-regulating the expression of MMP-2, thereby demonstrating its role in regression of myocardial fibrosis.

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#27864286   2016/11/19 Save this To Up

Transforming growth factor-β plays divergent roles in modulating vascular remodeling, inflammation, and pulmonary fibrosis in a murine model of scleroderma.

The efficacy and feasibility of targeting transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) in pulmonary fibrosis and lung vascular remodeling in systemic sclerosis (SSc) have not been well elucidated. In this study we analyzed how blocking TGFβ signaling affects pulmonary abnormalities in Fos-related antigen 2 (Fra-2) transgenic (Tg) mice, a murine model that manifests three important lung pathological features of SSc: fibrosis, inflammation, and vascular remodeling. To interrupt TGFβ signaling in the Fra-2 Tg mice, we used a pan-TGFβ-blocking antibody, 1D11, and Tg mice in which TGFβ receptor type 2 (Tgfbr2) is deleted from smooth muscle cells and myofibroblasts (α-SMA-Cre(ER);Tgfbr2(flox/flox)). Global inhibition of TGFβ by 1D11 did not ameliorate lung fibrosis histologically or biochemically, whereas it resulted in a significant increase in the number of immune cells infiltrating the lungs. In contrast, 1D11 treatment ameliorated the severity of pulmonary vascular remodeling in Fra-2 Tg mice. Similarly, genetic deletion of Tgfbr2 from smooth muscle cells resulted in improvement of pulmonary vascular remodeling in the Fra-2 Tg mice, as well as a decrease in the number of Ki67-positive vascular smooth muscle cells, suggesting that TGFβ signaling contributes to development of pulmonary vascular remodeling by promoting the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Deletion of Tgfbr2 from α-smooth muscle actin-expressing cells had no effect on fibrosis or inflammation in this model. These results suggest that efforts to target TGFβ in SSc will likely require more precision than simply global inhibition of TGFβ function.

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#27649383   2016/09/20 Save this To Up

Testing for the erythropoiesis-stimulating agent Sotatercept/ACE-011 (ActRIIA-Fc) in serum by means of Western blotting and LC-HRMS.

Sotatercept (formerly ACE-011) is a glycosylated, dimeric fusion protein composed of the extracellular domain of the human activin receptor type IIA (ActRIIA) and the Fc region of human IgG1. The protein-based drug candidate acts as a ligand trap which competitively binds to activin A and other members of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily, thus blocking signalling through ActRIIA. Since the inhibition of activin A was found to significantly increase bone formation and quality, Sotatercept was originally developed for the treatment of diseases involving bone loss. But as the protein therapeutic also stimulates erythropoiesis by a mechanism independent of the EPO receptor, it has been evaluated for the treatment of anaemia in rare blood diseases such as beta thalassemia. Due to its positive effects on erythropoiesis and bone formation, Sotatercept may also be misused as performance-enhancing agent in sports. Within this study, two complementary detection assays for Sotatercept and related ActRIIA-Fc fusion proteins in serum samples were developed. While the first assay combines affinity purification and Western blotting to generically detect ActRIIA-Fc fusion proteins irrespective of their amino acid sequence, the liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) method is highly specific for proteolytic peptides originating from the receptor and Fc domain of Sotatercept. Both approaches can readily be modified to include other pharmaceutical proteins such as therapeutic antibodies, and serve as proof-of-concept for the capability of the approach to detect TGF-β inhibitors and Fc fusion proteins in doping control serum samples. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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#26760502   2016/01/14 Save this To Up

Hydrogen Sulfide Inhibits Transforming Growth Factor-β1-Induced EMT via Wnt/Catenin Pathway.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has anti-fibrotic potential in lung, kidney and other organs. The exogenous H2S is released from sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) and can influence the renal fibrosis by blocking the differentiation of quiescent renal fibroblasts to myofibroblasts. But whether H2S affects renal epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Our study is aimed at investigating the in vitro effects of H2S on transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-induced EMT in renal tubular epithelial cells (HK-2 cells) and the associated mechanisms. The induced EMT is assessed by Western blotting analysis on the expressions of α-SMA, E-cadherin and fibronectin. HK-2 cells were treated with NaHS before incubating with TGF-β1 to investigate its effect on EMT and the related molecular mechanism. Results demonstrated that NaHS decreased the expression of α-SMA and fibronectin, and increased the expression of E-cadherin. NaHS reduced the expression of TGF-β receptor type I (TβR I) and TGF-β receptor type II (TβR II). In addition, NaHS attenuated TGF-β1-induced increase of β-catenin expression and ERK phosphorylation. Moreover, it inhibited the TGF-β1-induced nuclear translocation of ββ-catenin. These effects of NaHS on fibronectin, E-cadherin and TβR I were abolished by the ERK inhibitor U0126 or β-catenin inhibitor XAV939, or β-catenin siRNA interference. We get the conclusion that NaHS attenuated TGF-β1-induced EMT in HK-2 cells through both ERK-dependent and β-catenin-dependent pathways.

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#26714407   2015/12/30 Save this To Up

[Effects of blocking two sites of transforming growth factor-β/Smads signaling on the formation of scar-related proteins in human skin fibroblasts].

To explore the effects of blocking two sites of TGF-β/Smads signaling on the formation of scar-related proteins in human skin fibroblasts.

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#26699655   2016/02/05 Save this To Up

Smad4 Deficiency in Smooth Muscle Cells Initiates the Formation of Aortic Aneurysm.

Aortic aneurysm is a life-threatening cardiovascular disorder caused by the predisposition for dissection and rupture. Genetic studies have proved the involvement of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) pathway in aortic aneurysm. Smad4 is the central mediator of the canonical TGF-β signaling pathway. However, the exact role of Smad4 in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) leading to the pathogenesis of aortic aneurysms is largely unknown.

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