Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 97–107

Smad linker region phosphorylation in the regulation of extracellular matrix synthesis


DOI: 10.1007/s00018-010-0514-4

Cite this article as:
Burch, M.L., Zheng, W. & Little, P.J. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2011) 68: 97. doi:10.1007/s00018-010-0514-4


The canonical TGF-β signalling pathway involves Smad transcription factors through direct serine phosphorylation of the carboxy termini, nuclear translocation and regulation of transcription by receptor-regulated (R)-Smad complexes. Smads can also be phosphorylated in the linker region most prominently by the action of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, which in turn have been activated by TGF-β or a multitude of other growth factors and hormones. Linker region phosphorylation can prevent nuclear translocation of Smads and inhibit TGF-β signalling, potentially leading to oncogenesis. However, some evidence has revealed that linker region phosphorylated Smads can be translocated to the nucleus where they regulate transcription particularly of the synthesis of extracellular matrix molecules. Matrix molecules such as collagen and proteoglycans are involved in diseases such a fibrosis and atherosclerosis, respectively, and the involvement of linker region phosphorylation may represent a new therapeutic target.


Transforming growth factor-β Smads Phosphorylation Signalling Vascular smooth muscle Collagen Proteoglycans 

Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Micah L. Burch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenhua Zheng
    • 3
  • Peter J. Little
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Diabetes and Cell Biology LaboratoryBakerIDI Heart and Diabetes InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine and ImmunologyMonash University School of Medicine (Central and Eastern Clinical School, Alfred Health)PrahranAustralia
  3. 3.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouGuangdongChina
  4. 4.MelbourneAustralia