Sundqvist A, Morikawa M, Ren J, Vasilaki E, Kawasaki N, Kobayashi M, Koinuma D, Aburatani H, Miyazono K, Heldin CH, van Dam H, Ten Dijke P
Nucleic Acids Res. 46 (3) 1180-1195 [2018-02-16; online 2017-12-01]
It is well established that transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) switches its function from being a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter during the course of tumorigenesis, which involves both cell-intrinsic and environment-mediated mechanisms. We are interested in breast cancer cells, in which SMAD mutations are rare and interactions between SMAD and other transcription factors define pro-oncogenic events. Here, we have performed chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-sequencing analyses which indicate that the genome-wide landscape of SMAD2/3 binding is altered after prolonged TGFβ stimulation. De novo motif analyses of the SMAD2/3 binding regions predict enrichment of binding motifs for activator protein (AP)1 in addition to SMAD motifs. TGFβ-induced expression of the AP1 component JUNB was required for expression of many late invasion-mediating genes, creating a feed-forward regulatory network. Moreover, we found that several components in the WNT pathway were enriched among the late TGFβ-target genes, including the invasion-inducing WNT7 proteins. Consistently, overexpression of WNT7A or WNT7B enhanced and potentiated TGFβ-induced breast cancer cell invasion, while inhibition of the WNT pathway reduced this process. Our study thereby helps to explain how accumulation of pro-oncogenic stimuli switches and stabilizes TGFβ-induced cellular phenotypes of epithelial cells.