Crosstalk between protein kinase C α and transforming growth factor β signaling mediated by Runx2 in intestinal epithelial cells

Xinyue Li, Navneet Kaur, Mustafa Albahrani, Adam R. Karpf, Adrian R. Black, Jennifer D. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Tight coordination of growth regulatory signaling is required for intestinal epithelial homeostasis. Protein kinase C α (PKCα) and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) are negative regulators of proliferation with tumor suppressor properties in the intestine. Here, we identify novel crosstalk between PKCα and TGFβ signaling. RNA-Seq analysis of nontransformed intestinal crypt-like cells and colorectal cancer cells identified TGFβ receptor 1 (TGFβR1) as a target of PKCα signaling. RT-PCR and immunoblot analysis confirmed that PKCα positively regulates TGFβR1 mRNA and protein expression in these cells. Effects on TGFβR1 were dependent on Ras-extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK) signaling. Nascent RNA and promoter-reporter analysis indicated that PKCα induces TGFβR1 transcription, and Runx2 was identified as an essential mediator of the effect. PKCα promoted ERK-mediated activating phosphorylation of Runx2, which preceded transcriptional activation of the TGFβR1 gene and induction of Runx2 expression. Thus, we have identified a novel PKCα→ERK→Runx2→TGFβR1 signaling axis. In further support of a link between PKCα and TGFβ signaling, PKCα knockdown reduced the ability of TGFβ to induce SMAD2 phosphorylation and cell cycle arrest, and inhibition of TGFβR1 decreased PKCα-induced upregulation of p21Cip1 and p27Kip1 in intestinal cells. The physiological relevance of these findings is also supported by The Cancer Genome Atlas data showing correlation between PKCα, Runx2, and TGFβR1 mRNA expression in human colorectal cancer. PKCα also regulated TGFβR1 in endometrial cancer cells, and PKCα, Runx2, and TGFβR1 expression correlates in uterine tumors, indicating that crosstalk between PKCα and TGFβ signaling may be a common mechanism in diverse epithelial tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103017
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • ERK
  • PKCα
  • Runx2
  • TGFβ
  • TGFβR1
  • colon cancer
  • growth arrest
  • intestinal epithelium
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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