CRYSTAL STRUCTURE OF THE SMAD4 TUMOR SUPPRESSOR C-TERMINAL DOMAIN
[SMAD4_HUMAN] Defects in SMAD4 are a cause of pancreatic cancer (PNCA) [MIM:260350]. Defects in SMAD4 are a cause of juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS) [MIM:174900]; also known as juvenile intestinal polyposis (JIP). JPS is an autosomal dominant gastrointestinal hamartomatous polyposis syndrome in which patients are at risk for developing gastrointestinal cancers. The lesions are typified by a smooth histological appearance, predominant stroma, cystic spaces and lack of a smooth muscle core. Multiple juvenile polyps usually occur in a number of Mendelian disorders. Sometimes, these polyps occur without associated features as in JPS; here, polyps tend to occur in the large bowel and are associated with an increased risk of colon and other gastrointestinal cancers.  Defects in SMAD4 are a cause of juvenile polyposis/hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia syndrome (JP/HHT) [MIM:175050]. JP/HHT syndrome phenotype consists of the coexistence of juvenile polyposis (JIP) and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) [MIM:187300] in a single individual. JIP and HHT are autosomal dominant disorders with distinct and non-overlapping clinical features. The former, an inherited gastrointestinal malignancy predisposition, is caused by mutations in SMAD4 or BMPR1A, and the latter is a vascular malformation disorder caused by mutations in ENG or ACVRL1. All four genes encode proteins involved in the transforming-growth-factor-signaling pathway. Although there are reports of patients and families with phenotypes of both disorders combined, the genetic etiology of this association is unknown. Defects in SMAD4 may be a cause of colorectal cancer (CRC) [MIM:114500]. Defects in SMAD4 may be a cause of primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH1) [MIM:178600]. A rare disorder characterized by plexiform lesions of proliferating endothelial cells in pulmonary arterioles. The lesions lead to elevated pulmonary arterial pression, right ventricular failure, and death. The disease can occur from infancy throughout life and it has a mean age at onset of 36 years. Penetrance is reduced. Although familial PPH1 is rare, cases secondary to known etiologies are more common and include those associated with the appetite-suppressant drugs. Defects in SMAD4 are the cause of Myhre syndrome (MYHRS) [MIM:139210]. MYHRS is a syndrome characterized by pre- and postnatal growth deficiency, mental retardation, generalized muscle hypertrophy and striking muscular build, decreased joint mobility, cryptorchidism, and unusual facies. Dysmorphic facial features include microcephaly, midface hypoplasia, prognathism, and blepharophimosis. Typical skeletal anomalies are short stature, square body shape, broad ribs, iliac hypoplasia, brachydactyly, flattened vertebrae, and thickened calvaria. Other features, such as congenital heart disease, may also occur. 
[SMAD4_HUMAN] Common SMAD (co-SMAD) is the coactivator and mediator of signal transduction by TGF-beta (transforming growth factor). Component of the heterotrimeric SMAD2/SMAD3-SMAD4 complex that forms in the nucleus and is required for the TGF-mediated signaling. Promotes binding of the SMAD2/SMAD4/FAST-1 complex to DNA and provides an activation function required for SMAD1 or SMAD2 to stimulate transcription. Component of the multimeric SMAD3/SMAD4/JUN/FOS complex which forms at the AP1 promoter site; required for syngernistic transcriptional activity in response to TGF-beta. May act as a tumor suppressor. Positively regulates PDPK1 kinase activity by stimulating its dissociation from the 14-3-3 protein YWHAQ which acts as a negative regulator. 
Publication Abstract from PubMed
The Smad4/DPC4 tumour suppressor is inactivated in nearly half of pancreatic carcinomas and to a lesser extent in a variety of other cancers. Smad4/DPC4, and the related tumour suppressor Smad2, belong to the SMAD family of proteins that mediate signalling by the TGF-beta/activin/BMP-2/4 cytokine superfamily from receptor Ser/Thr protein kinases at the cell surface to the nucleus. SMAD proteins, which are phosphorylated by the activated receptor, propagate the signal, in part, through homo- and hetero-oligomeric interactions. Smad4/DPC4 plays a central role as it is the shared hetero-oligomerization partner of the other SMADs. The conserved carboxy-terminal domains of SMADs are sufficient for inducing most of the ligand-specific effects, and are the primary targets of tumorigenic inactivation. We now describe the crystal structure of the C-terminal domain (CTD) of the Smad4/DPC4 tumour suppressor, determined at 2.5 A resolution. The structure reveals that the Smad4/DPC4 CTD forms a crystallographic trimer through a conserved protein-protein interface, to which the majority of the tumour-derived missense mutations map. These mutations disrupt homo-oligomerization in vitro and in vivo, indicating that the trimeric assembly of the Smad4/DPC4 CTD is critical for signalling and is disrupted by tumorigenic mutations.
A structural basis for mutational inactivation of the tumour suppressor Smad4.,Shi Y, Hata A, Lo RS, Massague J, Pavletich NP Nature. 1997 Jul 3;388(6637):87-93. PMID:9214508
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.