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Smad3 Protein: A receptor-regulated smad protein that undergoes PHOSPHORYLATION by ACTIVIN RECEPTORS, TYPE I. Activated Smad3 can bind directly to DNA, and it regulates TRANSFORMING GROWTH FACTOR BETA and ACTIVIN signaling.Smad4 Protein: A signal transducing adaptor protein and tumor suppressor protein. It forms a complex with activated RECEPTOR-REGULATED SMAD PROTEINS. The complex then translocates to the CELL NUCLEUS and regulates GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION of target GENES.Smad7 Protein: An inhibitory smad protein that associates with TRANSFORMING GROWTH FACTOR BETA RECEPTORS and BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN RECEPTORS. It negatively regulates SIGNAL TRANSDUCTION PATHWAYS by inhibiting PHOSPHORYLATION of RECEPTOR-REGULATED SMAD PROTEINS.Smad1 Protein: A receptor-regulated smad protein that undergoes PHOSPHORYLATION by BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN RECEPTORS. It regulates BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN signaling and plays an essential role in EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT.Smad5 Protein: A receptor-regulated smad protein that undergoes PHOSPHORYLATION by BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN RECEPTORS. It regulates BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN signaling and is essential for PHYSIOLOGICAL ANGIOGENESIS.Smad Proteins: A family of proteins that are involved in the translocation of signals from TGF-BETA RECEPTORS; BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN RECEPTORS; and other surface receptors to the CELL NUCLEUS. They were originally identified as a class of proteins that are related to the mothers against decapentaplegic protein, Drosophila and sma proteins from CAENORHABDITIS ELEGANS.Smad8 Protein: A receptor-regulated smad protein that undergoes PHOSPHORYLATION by BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN RECEPTORS and regulates BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN signaling.Transforming Growth Factor beta: A factor synthesized in a wide variety of tissues. It acts synergistically with TGF-alpha in inducing phenotypic transformation and can also act as a negative autocrine growth factor. TGF-beta has a potential role in embryonal development, cellular differentiation, hormone secretion, and immune function. TGF-beta is found mostly as homodimer forms of separate gene products TGF-beta1, TGF-beta2 or TGF-beta3. Heterodimers composed of TGF-beta1 and 2 (TGF-beta1.2) or of TGF-beta2 and 3 (TGF-beta2.3) have been isolated. The TGF-beta proteins are synthesized as precursor proteins.Trans-Activators: Diffusible gene products that act on homologous or heterologous molecules of viral or cellular DNA to regulate the expression of proteins.Signal Transduction: The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway.Transforming Growth Factor beta1: A subtype of transforming growth factor beta that is synthesized by a wide variety of cells. It is synthesized as a precursor molecule that is cleaved to form mature TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta1 latency-associated peptide. The association of the cleavage products results in the formation a latent protein which must be activated to bind its receptor. Defects in the gene that encodes TGF-beta1 are the cause of CAMURATI-ENGELMANN SYNDROME.Bone Morphogenetic Proteins: Bone-growth regulatory factors that are members of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily of proteins. They are synthesized as large precursor molecules which are cleaved by proteolytic enzymes. The active form can consist of a dimer of two identical proteins or a heterodimer of two related bone morphogenetic proteins.Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta: Cell-surface proteins that bind transforming growth factor beta and trigger changes influencing the behavior of cells. Two types of transforming growth factor receptors have been recognized. They differ in affinity for different members of the transforming growth factor beta family and in cellular mechanisms of action.DNA-Binding Proteins: Proteins which bind to DNA. The family includes proteins which bind to both double- and single-stranded DNA and also includes specific DNA binding proteins in serum which can be used as markers for malignant diseases.Activins: Activins are produced in the pituitary, gonads, and other tissues. By acting locally, they stimulate pituitary FSH secretion and have diverse effects on cell differentiation and embryonic development. Activins are glycoproteins that are hetero- or homodimers of INHIBIN-BETA SUBUNITS.Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2: A potent osteoinductive protein that plays a critical role in the differentiation of osteoprogenitor cells into OSTEOBLASTS.Phosphorylation: The introduction of a phosphoryl group into a compound through the formation of an ester bond between the compound and a phosphorus moiety.Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors: A family of CELL SURFACE RECEPTORS that bind BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEINS. They are PROTEIN-SERINE-THREONINE KINASES that mediate SIGNAL TRANSDUCTION PATHWAYS through SMAD PROTEINS.Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type I: A subtype of bone morphogenetic protein receptors with high affinity for BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEINS. They can interact with and undergo PHOSPHORYLATION by BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN RECEPTORS, TYPE II. They signal primarily through RECEPTOR-REGULATED SMAD PROTEINS.Mink: Carnivores of genus Mustela of the family MUSTELIDAE. The European mink, which has white upper and lower lips, was widely trapped for commercial purposes and is classified as endangered. The American mink, lacking a white upper lip, is farmed commercially.Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4: A bone morphogenetic protein that is a potent inducer of bone formation. It also functions as a regulator of MESODERM formation during EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT.Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7: A bone morphogenetic protein that is widely expressed during EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT. It is both a potent osteogenic factor and a specific regulator of nephrogenesis.Cell Line: Established cell cultures that have the potential to propagate indefinitely.Protein Binding: The process in which substances, either endogenous or exogenous, bind to proteins, peptides, enzymes, protein precursors, or allied compounds. Specific protein-binding measures are often used as assays in diagnostic assessments.Transcription, Genetic: The biosynthesis of RNA carried out on a template of DNA. The biosynthesis of DNA from an RNA template is called REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION.Fibrosis: Any pathological condition where fibrous connective tissue invades any organ, usually as a consequence of inflammation or other injury.COS Cells: CELL LINES derived from the CV-1 cell line by transformation with a replication origin defective mutant of SV40 VIRUS, which codes for wild type large T antigen (ANTIGENS, POLYOMAVIRUS TRANSFORMING). They are used for transfection and cloning. (The CV-1 cell line was derived from the kidney of an adult male African green monkey (CERCOPITHECUS AETHIOPS).)Transforming Growth Factor beta2: A TGF-beta subtype that was originally identified as a GLIOBLASTOMA-derived factor which inhibits the antigen-dependent growth of both helper and CYTOTOXIC T LYMPHOCYTES. It is synthesized as a precursor molecule that is cleaved to form mature TGF-beta2 and TGF-beta2 latency-associated peptide. The association of the cleavage products results in the formation a latent protein which must be activated to bind its receptor.Xenopus Proteins: Proteins obtained from various species of Xenopus. Included here are proteins from the African clawed frog (XENOPUS LAEVIS). Many of these proteins have been the subject of scientific investigations in the area of MORPHOGENESIS and development.Promoter Regions, Genetic: DNA sequences which are recognized (directly or indirectly) and bound by a DNA-dependent RNA polymerase during the initiation of transcription. Highly conserved sequences within the promoter include the Pribnow box in bacteria and the TATA BOX in eukaryotes.Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Activin Receptors: Receptors for ACTIVINS are membrane protein kinases belonging to the family of PROTEIN-SERINE-THREONINE KINASES, thus also named activin receptor-like kinases (ALK's). Activin receptors also bind TRANSFORMING GROWTH FACTOR BETA. As those transmembrane receptors of the TGF-beta superfamily (RECEPTORS, TRANSFORMING GROWTH FACTOR BETA), ALK's consist of two different but related protein kinases, Type I and Type II. Activins initiate cellular signal transduction by first binding to the type II receptors (ACTIVIN RECEPTORS, TYPE II ) which then recruit and phosphorylate the type I receptors (ACTIVIN RECEPTORS, TYPE I ) with subsequent activation of the type I kinase activity.Gene Expression Regulation: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control (induction or repression) of gene action at the level of transcription or translation.Transcriptional Activation: Processes that stimulate the GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION of a gene or set of genes.Luciferases: Enzymes that oxidize certain LUMINESCENT AGENTS to emit light (PHYSICAL LUMINESCENCE). The luciferases from different organisms have evolved differently so have different structures and substrates.Transfection: The uptake of naked or purified DNA by CELLS, usually meaning the process as it occurs in eukaryotic cells. It is analogous to bacterial transformation (TRANSFORMATION, BACTERIAL) and both are routinely employed in GENE TRANSFER TECHNIQUES.Activin Receptors, Type II: One of the two types of ACTIVIN RECEPTORS. They are membrane protein kinases belonging to the family of PROTEIN-SERINE-THREONINE KINASES. The major type II activin receptors are ActR-IIA and ActR-IIB.Cell Differentiation: Progressive restriction of the developmental potential and increasing specialization of function that leads to the formation of specialized cells, tissues, and organs.Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases: A group of enzymes that catalyzes the phosphorylation of serine or threonine residues in proteins, with ATP or other nucleotides as phosphate donors.Blotting, Western: Identification of proteins or peptides that have been electrophoretically separated by blot transferring from the electrophoresis gel to strips of nitrocellulose paper, followed by labeling with antibody probes.Cell Nucleus: Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (CELL NUCLEOLUS). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. (From Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)Nodal Protein: The founding member of the nodal signaling ligand family of proteins. Nodal protein was originally discovered in the region of the mouse embryo primitive streak referred to as HENSEN'S NODE. It is expressed asymmetrically on the left side in chordates and plays a critical role in the genesis of left-right asymmetry during vertebrate development.Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction: A variation of the PCR technique in which cDNA is made from RNA via reverse transcription. The resultant cDNA is then amplified using standard PCR protocols.Genes, Reporter: Genes whose expression is easily detectable and therefore used to study promoter activity at many positions in a target genome. In recombinant DNA technology, these genes may be attached to a promoter region of interest.Mice, Knockout: Strains of mice in which certain GENES of their GENOMES have been disrupted, or "knocked-out". To produce knockouts, using RECOMBINANT DNA technology, the normal DNA sequence of the gene being studied is altered to prevent synthesis of a normal gene product. Cloned cells in which this DNA alteration is successful are then injected into mouse EMBRYOS to produce chimeric mice. The chimeric mice are then bred to yield a strain in which all the cells of the mouse contain the disrupted gene. Knockout mice are used as EXPERIMENTAL ANIMAL MODELS for diseases (DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL) and to clarify the functions of the genes.Transcription Factors: Endogenous substances, usually proteins, which are effective in the initiation, stimulation, or termination of the genetic transcription process.Mesoderm: The middle germ layer of an embryo derived from three paired mesenchymal aggregates along the neural tube.Inhibin-beta Subunits: They are glycopeptides and subunits in INHIBINS and ACTIVINS. Inhibins and activins belong to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily.RNA, Messenger: RNA sequences that serve as templates for protein synthesis. Bacterial mRNAs are generally primary transcripts in that they do not require post-transcriptional processing. Eukaryotic mRNA is synthesized in the nucleus and must be exported to the cytoplasm for translation. Most eukaryotic mRNAs have a sequence of polyadenylic acid at the 3' end, referred to as the poly(A) tail. The function of this tail is not known for certain, but it may play a role in the export of mature mRNA from the nucleus as well as in helping stabilize some mRNA molecules by retarding their degradation in the cytoplasm.