Indexed on: 08 Aug '14Published on: 08 Aug '14Published in: The Journal of endocrinology
Activins and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) share activin type 2 signaling receptors but utilize different type 1 receptors and Smads. We designed AB215, a potent BMP2-like Activin A/BMP2 chimera incorporating the high-affinity type 2 receptor-binding epitope of Activin A. In this study, we compare the signaling properties of AB215 and BMP2 in HEK293T cells and gonadotroph LβT2 cells in which Activin A and BMP2 synergistically induce FSHβ. In HEK293T cells, AB215 is more potent than BMP2 and competitively blocks Activin A signaling, while BMP2 has a partial blocking activity. Activin A signaling is insensitive to BMP pathway antagonism in HEK293T cells but is strongly inhibited by constitutively active (CA) BMP type 1 receptors. By contrast, the potencies of AB215 and BMP2 are indistinguishable in LβT2 cells and although AB215 blocks Activin A signaling, BMP2 has no inhibitory effect. Unlike HEK293T, Activin A signaling is strongly inhibited by BMP pathway antagonism in LβT2 cells but is largely unaffected by CA BMP type 1 receptors. BMP2 increases phospho-Smad3 levels in LβT2 cells, in both the absence and the presence of Activin A treatment, and augments Activin A-induced FSHβ. AB215 has the opposite effect and sharply decreases basal phospho-Smad3 levels and blocks Smad2 phosphorylation and FSHβ induction resulting from Activin A treatment. These findings together demonstrate that while AB215 activates the BMP pathway, it has opposing effects to those of BMP2 on FSHβ induction in LβT2 cells apparently due to its ability to block Activin A signaling.