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Expression profiling of genes regulated by TGF-beta: Differential regulation in normal and tumour cells

Prathibha Ranganathan1, Animesh Agrawal1, Raghu Bhushan1, Aravinda K Chavalmane1, Ravi Kiran Reddy Kalathur1, Takashi Takahashi2 and Paturu Kondaiah1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India

2 Division of Molecular Carcinogenesis, Centre for Neurological Diseases and Cancer, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2007, 8:98  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-98

Published: 11 April 2007



TGF-beta is one of the key cytokines implicated in various disease processes including cancer. TGF-beta inhibits growth and promotes apoptosis in normal epithelial cells and in contrast, acts as a pro-tumour cytokine by promoting tumour angiogenesis, immune-escape and metastasis. It is not clear if various actions of TGF-beta on normal and tumour cells are due to differential gene regulations. Hence we studied the regulation of gene expression by TGF-beta in normal and cancer cells.


Using human 19 K cDNA microarrays, we show that 1757 genes are exclusively regulated by TGF-beta in A549 cells in contrast to 733 genes exclusively regulated in HPL1D cells. In addition, 267 genes are commonly regulated in both the cell-lines. Semi-quantitative and real-time qRT-PCR analysis of some genes agrees with the microarray data. In order to identify the signalling pathways that influence TGF-beta mediated gene regulation, we used specific inhibitors of p38 MAP kinase, ERK kinase, JNK kinase and integrin signalling pathways. The data suggest that regulation of majority of the selected genes is dependent on at least one of these pathways and this dependence is cell-type specific. Interestingly, an integrin pathway inhibitor, RGD peptide, significantly affected TGF-beta regulation of Thrombospondin 1 in A549 cells.


These data suggest major differences with respect to TGF-beta mediated gene regulation in normal and transformed cells and significant role of non-canonical TGF-beta pathways in the regulation of many genes by TGF-beta.