TGF-beta signaling

The transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signaling pathway is a type of signal transduction mechanism involved in many cellular processes, such as cell growth, cell differentiation, apoptosis, cellular homeostasis and other cellular functions.

This is a simplified version of the process (Figure 1):

  1. TGF-beta binds to TGF-beta receptors (first to type II, which recruits and phosphorylates type I)

  2. Type I receptor phosphorylates SMAD proteins 2/3

  3. SMAD 4 binds SMAD 2/3

  4. The complex enters the nucleus and acts as transcription factor, regulating the expression of the target gene.

Image illustrating four stages of the process. First, TGFb binds to a cell membrane receptor, the TGFb receptor. Secondly, Smad2/3 protein binds to the internal part of the TGFb receptor and gets phosphorylated. Thirdly, Smad4 binds Smad2/3. Lastly, the protein complex enters the nucleus of the cell and acts as a transcription factor of the gene they bind to.

Figure 1. Simplified version of the TGF-beta signaling pathway.