Smad6 Methylation Represses NFκB Activation and Periodontal Inflammation

T. Zhang, J. Wu, N. Ungvijanpunya, O. Jackson-Weaver, Y. Gou, J. Feng, T. V. Ho, Y. Shen, J. Liu, S. Richard, J. Jin, G. Hajishengallis, Y. Chai, J. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory signals maintains tissue homeostasis and defines the outcome of chronic inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis, a condition that afflicts the tooth-supporting tissues and exerts an impact on systemic health. The induction of tissue inflammation relies heavily on Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling, which drives a proinflammatory pathway through recruiting myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88) and activating nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB). TLR-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines is reined in by anti-inflammatory cytokines, including the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) family of cytokines. Although Smad6 is a key mediator of TGFβ-induced anti-inflammatory signaling, the exact mechanism by which TGFβ regulates TLR proinflammatory signaling in the periodontal tissue has not been addressed to date. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that the ability of TGFβ to inhibit TLR-NFκB signaling is mediated by protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1)–induced Smad6 methylation. Upon methylation, Smad6 recruited MyD88 and promoted MyD88 degradation, thereby inhibiting NFκB activation. Most important, Smad6 is expressed and methylated in the gingival epithelium, and PRMT1-Smad6 signaling promotes tissue homeostasis by limiting inflammation. Consistent with this, disturbance of Smad6 methylation exacerbates inflammation and bone loss in experimental periodontitis. The dissected mechanism is therapeutically important, as it highlights the manipulation of PRMT1-Smad6 signaling as a novel promising strategy to modulate the host immune response in periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-819
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • arginine methylation
  • cell signaling
  • periodontal disease
  • post-translational modification
  • protein-protein interaction
  • signal transduction


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