JOURNAL ARTICLE

p130Cas is required for mammary tumor growth and transforming growth factor-beta-mediated metastasis through regulation of Smad2/3 activity

Michael K Wendt, Jason A Smith, William P Schiemann
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2009 December 4, 284 (49): 34145-56
19822523
During breast cancer progression, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) switches from a tumor suppressor to a pro-metastatic molecule. Several recent studies suggest that this conversion in TGF-beta function depends upon fundamental changes in the TGF-beta signaling system. We show here that these changes in TGF-beta signaling are concomitant with aberrant expression of the focal adhesion protein, p130Cas. Indeed, elevating expression of either the full-length (FL) or just the carboxyl terminus (CT) of p130Cas in mammary epithelial cells (MECs) diminished the ability of TGF-beta1 to activate Smad2/3, but increased its coupling to p38 MAPK. This shift in TGF-beta signaling evoked (i) resistance to TGF-beta-induced growth arrest, and (ii) acinar filling upon three-dimensional organotypic cultures of p130Cas-FL or -CT expressing MECs. Furthermore, rendering metastatic MECs deficient in p130Cas enhanced TGF-beta-stimulated Smad2/3 activity, which restored TGF-beta-induced growth inhibition both in vitro and in mammary tumors produced in mice. Additionally, whereas elevating TbetaR-II expression in metastatic MECs had no affect on their phosphorylation of Smad2/3, this event markedly enhanced their activation of p38 MAPK, leading to increased MEC invasion and metastasis. Importantly, depleting p130Cas expression in TbetaR-II-expressing metastatic MECs significantly increased their activation of Smad2/3, which (i) reestablished the physiologic balance between canonical and noncanonical TGF-beta signaling, and (ii) reversed cellular invasion and early mammary tumor cell dissemination stimulated by TGF-beta. Collectively, our findings identify p130Cas as a molecular rheostat that regulates the delicate balance between canonical and noncanonical TGF-beta signaling, a balance that is critical to maintaining the tumor suppressor function of TGF-beta during breast cancer progression.

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