Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) functions as a tumor suppressor in premalignant cells but as a metastasis promoter in cancer cells. The dichotomous functions of TGF-β are proposed to be dictated by different partners of its downstream effector Smads. However, the mechanism for the contextual changes of Smad partners remained undefined. Here, we demonstrate that 14-3-3ζ destabilizes p53, a Smad partner in premalignant mammary epithelial cells, by downregulating 14-3-3σ, thus turning off TGF-β's tumor suppression function. Conversely, 14-3-3ζ stabilizes Gli2 in breast cancer cells, and Gli2 partners with Smads to activate PTHrP and promote TGF-β-induced bone metastasis. The 14-3-3ζ-driven contextual changes of Smad partners from p53 to Gli2 may serve as biomarkers and therapeutic targets of TGF-β-mediated cancer progression.
Xu, J., Acharya, S., Sahin, O., Zhang, Q., Saito, Y., Yao, J., … Yu, D. (2015). 14-3-3ζ Turns TGF-β’s Function from Tumor Suppressor to Metastasis Promoter in Breast Cancer by Contextual Changes of Smad Partners from p53 to Gli2. Cancer Cell, 27(2), 177–192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2014.11.025