Suppression of TGF-beta signaling by phospholipase D

Cell Cycle. 2007 Nov 15;6(22):2840-5. doi: 10.4161/cc.6.22.4921. Epub 2007 Aug 19.


MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells have a survival signal generated by phospholipase D (PLD) that involves the activation of mTOR and MAP kinase. TGF-beta signals that block cell cycle progression in G(1) are suppressed in MDA-MB-231 cells. We report here that the elevated PLD activity in MDA-MB-231 cells suppresses TGF-beta signaling. Suppression of PLD activity or PLD expression resulted in increased phosphorylation of Smad2 and Smad3 on Ser 465/467-sites on Smads that get phosphorylated by the TGF-beta receptor and positively regulate TGF-beta signaling. The effect of PLD suppression on Smad2/3 phosphorylation was dependent on the presence of TGF-beta. Suppression of PLD also suppressed phosphorylation of Smad2 on Ser 245/250/255-sites that are phosphorylated by MAP kinase and negatively regulate TGF-beta signaling. Suppression of PLD also led to increased expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors p21Cip1 and p27Kip1, the expression of which is stimulated in response to TGF-beta. Consistent with the elevated expression of CDK inhibitors, suppression of PLD also suppressed phosphorylation of the CDK substrate pRb. Similar effects were also seen in PANC-1 human pancreatic cancer cells. The data presented here indicate that the suppressed TGF-beta signaling in MDA-MB-231 and perhaps many other human cancer cells is due to elevated PLD activity and mediated by mTOR and MAP kinase. These results indicate that the survival signals generated by PLD involve the suppression TGF-beta signals that promote G(1) arrest.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • G1 Phase / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phospholipase D / biosynthesis
  • Phospholipase D / genetics
  • Phospholipase D / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Phospholipase D