Genome-wide transcriptional profiling of human epithelial cells revealed that repression of Id inhibitors of differentiation (Id1, Id2, and Id3) is a general feature of the TGFbeta cytostatic program. Opposite responses of Id1 to TGFbeta and the related factor BMP are dictated by the specific ability of the TGFbeta mediator, Smad3, to activate expression of stress response factor ATF3 and then recruit this factor to the Id1 promoter. Thus, a Smad3-mediated primary gene response, ATF3 induction, enables Smad3 to participate in an ATF3-mediated, secondary gene response. As a common target of TGFbeta/Smad signals and stress signals via p38 kinase, ATF3 additionally serves to channel synergy between these pathways in the response of epithelial cells to stress and injury.
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