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Alternative splicing of TGF-betas and their high-affinity receptors TβRI, TβRII and TβRIII (betaglycan) reveal new variants in human prostatic cells

Lutz Konrad1*, Jonas A Scheiber1, Elke Völck-Badouin2, Marcel M Keilani1, Leslie Laible1, Heidrun Brandt1, Ansgar Schmidt3, Gerhard Aumüller2 and Rainer Hofmann1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, Medical Faculty, 35033 Marburg, Germany

2 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, 35033 Marburg, Germany

3 Department of Pathology, Medical Faculty, 35033 Marburg, Germany

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:318  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-318

Published: 11 September 2007



The transforming growth factors (TGF)-β, TGF-β1, TGF-β2 and TGF-β3, and their receptors [TβRI, TβRII, TβRIII (betaglycan)] elicit pleiotropic functions in the prostate. Although expression of the ligands and receptors have been investigated, the splice variants have never been analyzed. We therefore have analyzed all ligands, the receptors and the splice variants TβRIB, TβRIIB and TGF-β2B in human prostatic cells.


Interestingly, a novel human receptor transcript TβRIIC was identified, encoding additional 36 amino acids in the extracellular domain, that is expressed in the prostatic cancer cells PC-3, stromal hPCPs, and other human tissues. Furthermore, the receptor variant TβRIB with four additional amino acids was identified also in human. Expression of the variant TβRIIB was found in all prostate cell lines studied with a preferential localization in epithelial cells in some human prostatic glands. Similarly, we observed localization of TβRIIC and TGF-β2B mainly in the epithelial cells with a preferential localization of TGF-β2B in the apical cell compartment. Whereas in the androgen-independent hPCPs and PC-3 cells all TGF-β ligands and receptors are expressed, the androgen-dependent LNCaP cells failed to express all ligands. Additionally, stimulation of PC-3 cells with TGF-β2 resulted in a significant and strong increase in secretion of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) with a major participation of TβRII.


In general, expression of the splice variants was more heterogeneous in contrast to the well-known isoforms. The identification of the splice variants TβRIB and the novel isoform TβRIIC in man clearly contributes to the growing complexity of the TGF-β family.