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Transforming Growth Factor beta Signaling in Colorectal Cancer Cells With Microsatellite Instability Despite Biallelic Mutations in TGFBR2
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2015 (English)In: Gastroenterology, ISSN 0016-5085, E-ISSN 1528-0012, Vol. 148, no 7, 1427-1437.e8 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Most colorectal cancer (CRC) cells with high levels of microsatellite instability (MSI-H) accumulate mutations at a microsatellite sequence in the gene encoding transforming growth factor beta receptor II (TGFBR2). TGF beta signaling therefore is believed to be defective in these tumors, although CRC cells with TGFBR2 mutations have been reported to remain sensitive to TGF beta. We investigated how TGF beta signaling might continue in MSI-H CRC cells. METHODS: We sequenced the 10-adenines microsatellite sequence in the TGFBR2 gene of 32 MSI-H colon cancer tissues and 6 cell lines (HCT116, LS180, LS411N, RKO, SW48, and SW837). Activation of TGF beta signaling was detected by SMAD2 phosphorylation and through use of a TGF beta-responsive reporter construct in all CRC cell lines. Transcripts of TGFBR2 were knocked-down in CRC cells using short hairpin RNA. Full-length and mutant forms of TGFBR2 were expressed in LS411N cells, which do not respond to TGF beta, and their activities were measured. RESULTS: SMAD2 was phosphorylated in most MSI-H CRC tissues (strong detection in 44% and weak detection in 34% of MSI-H tumors). Phosphorylation of SMAD2 in MSI-H cells required TGFBR2-even the form encoding a frameshift mutation. Transcription and translation of TGFBR2 with a 1-nucleotide deletion at its microsatellite sequence still produced a full-length TGFBR2 protein. However, protein expression required preservation of the TGFBR2 microsatellite sequence; cells in which this sequence was replaced with a synonymous nonmicrosatellite sequence did not produce functional TGFBR2 protein. CONCLUSION: TGF beta signaling remains active in some MSI-H CRC cells despite the presence of frameshift mutations in the TGFBR2 gene because the mutated gene still expresses a functional protein. Strategies to reactivate TGF beta signaling in colorectal tumors might not be warranted, and the functional effects of mutations at other regions of microsatellite instability should be evaluated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 148, no 7, 1427-1437.e8 p.
Keyword [en]
Colon Cancer, Signal Transduction, Tumor Suppressor, RNA Editing
National Category
Gastroenterology and Hepatology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-256213DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2015.02.052ISI: 000355014700034PubMedID: 25736321OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-256213DiVA: diva2:839954
Swedish Cancer Society, 090773
Available from: 2015-07-06 Created: 2015-06-22 Last updated: 2015-07-06Bibliographically approved

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