Both the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Src and the receptors for transforming growth factor (TGF)-β (TβRI, TβRII) play major roles during tumorigenesis by regulating cell growth, migration/invasion and metastasis. The common Src family kinase inhibitors PP2 and PP1 effectively block Src activity in vitro and in vivo, however, they may exert nonspecific effects on other kinases. In this study, we have evaluated PP2 and PP1 for their ability to inhibit TGFβ1-mediated responses in the TGF-β-responsive pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line Panc1. We show that PP2 and PP1 but not the more specific Src inhibitor SU6656 effectively relieved TGF-β1-induced growth arrest and p21WAF1 induction, while basal growth was enhanced by PP2 and PP1, and suppressed by SU6656. PP2 and PP1 but not SU6656 also suppressed TGF-β1-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as evidenced by their ability to inhibit downregulation of the epithelial marker E-cadherin, and upregulation of the EMT-associated transcription factor Slug. Likewise, PP2 and PP1 but not SU6656 effectively blocked TGF-β1-induced activation of Smad2 and p38 MAPK and partially suppressed Smad activation and transcriptional activity on TGF-β/Smad-responsive reporters of a kinase-active TβRI mutant ectopically expressed in Panc1 cells. Interestingly, PP2 and PP1 strongly inhibited recombinant TβRI in an in vitro kinase assay, with PP1 being more potent and PP2 being nearly as potent as the established TβRI inhibitor SB431542. PP2 but not PP1 also weakly inhibited the TβRII kinase. Together, these data provide evidence that PP2 and PP1 are powerful inhibitors of TβR function that can block TGF-β/Smad signaling in a Src-unrelated fashion. Both agents may be useful as dual TGF-β/Src inhibitors in experimental therapeutics of late stage metastatic disease.
Keywords: Src, TGF-beta, PP2, PP1, SU6656, SB431542, Smad, p38 MAPK, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, mitogen-activated protein kinase, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, transforming growth factor
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