Cross-talk between ERK MAP kinase and Smad signaling pathways enhances TGF-beta-dependent responses in human mesangial cells.

Tomoko Hayashida*, Mark Decaestecker, H. William Schnaper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations


Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) stimulates renal cell fibrogenesis by a poorly understood mechanism. Previously, we suggested a synergy between TGF-beta1 activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and Smad signaling in collagen production by human glomerular mesangial cells. In a heterologous DNA binding transcription assay, biochemical or dominant-negative ERK blockade reduced TGF-beta1 induced Smad3 activity. Total serine phosphorylation of Smad2/3, but not phosphorylation of the C-terminal SS(P)XS(P) motif, was decreased by pretreatment with the MEK/ERK inhibitors, PD98059 (10 microM) or U0126 (25 microM). This effect was not seen in the mouse mammary epithelial NMuMG cell line, indicating that ERK-dependent activation of Smad2/3 occurs only in certain cell types. TGF-beta stimulated phosphorylation of an expressed Smad3A construct, with a mutated C-terminal SS(P)XS(P) motif, was reduced by a MEK/ERK inhibitor. In contrast, MEK/ERK inhibition did not affect phosphorylation of a Smad3 construct mutated at consensus phosphorylation sites in the linker region (Smad3EPSM). Constitutively active MEK (caMEK) induced alpha2(I) collagen promoter activity, an effect blocked by co-transfected Smad3EPSM, but not Smad3A. The effects of caMEK and TGF-beta1 on collagen promoter activity were additive. These results indicate that ERK-dependent R-Smad linker region phosphorylation enhances collagen I synthesis and imply positive cross talk between the ERK and Smad pathways in human mesangial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1576-1578
Number of pages3
JournalThe FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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