Identification and Profiling of Environmental Chemicals That Inhibit the TGFβ/SMAD Signaling Pathway.


The transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) superfamily of secreted signaling molecules and their cognate receptors regulate cell fate and behaviors relevant to many developmental and disease processes. Disruption of TGFβ signaling during embryonic development can, for example, affect morphogenesis and differentiation through complex pathways that may be SMAD (Small Mothers Against Decapentaplegic) dependent or SMAD independent. In the present study, the SMAD Binding Element (SBE)-beta lactamase (bla) HEK 293T cell line, which responds to the activation of the SMAD2/3/4 complex, was used in a quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) assay to identify potential TGFβ disruptors in the Tox21 10K compound library. From the primary screening we identified several kinase inhibitors, organometallic compounds, and dithiocarbamates (DTCs) that inhibited TGFβ1-induced SMAD signaling of reporter gene activation independent of cytotoxicity. Counterscreen of SBE antagonists on human embryonic neural stem cells demonstrated cytotoxicity, providing additional evidence to support evaluation of these compounds for developmental toxicity. We profiled the inhibitory patterns of putative SBE antagonists toward other developmental signaling pathways, including wingless-related integration site (WNT), retinoic acid α receptor (RAR), and sonic hedgehog (SHH). The profiling results from SBE-bla assay identify chemicals that disrupt TGFβ/SMAD signaling as part of an integrated qHTS approach for prioritizing putative developmental toxicants.


Wei, Zhengxi; Sakamuru, Srilatha; Zhang, Li; Zhao, Jinghua; Huang, Ruili; Kleinstreuer, Nicole C; Chen, Yanling; Shu, Yan; Knudsen, Thomas B; Xia, Menghang;

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