G protein coupled receptors can transduce signals through carboxy terminal and linker region phosphorylation of Smad transcription factors

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Smads (sma/mothers against decapentaplegic) are transcription factors, which can be phosphorylated in the carboxy terminal (pSmad2/3C) or in the structurally central linker region (pSmad2/3 L). Only receptor kinases such as Transforming Growth Factor (TGF)-β receptor (TGFBR1) can mediate carboxy terminal phosphorylation but multiple receptors, including TGFBR1 itself, can activate cytosolic serine/threonine kinases and mediate serine/threonine (S/T) linker region phosphorylation of Smad2/3. One important class of agents that can mediate Smad phosphorylation are the G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their ligands and these agents can meditate both carboxy terminal and linker region phosphorylation. Linker region phosphorylation arises due to activation of kinases including those downstream of the transactivation of the EGFR and carboxy terminal Smad phosphorylation can occur as a result of the recently described activity of GPCRs, notably protease activated receptors (PAR)-1, to transactivate TGFBR1 leading to direct carboxy terminal Smad phosphorylation. This review will summarize the effects of GPCR-mediated receptor transactivation pathways on the phosphorylation of Smad2 linker region, as a better understanding of these pathways may provide new approaches for the identification of novel therapeutic agents.

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