Among 222 primary colorectal cancers we examined, 58 showed no detectable APC mutations by the protein truncation test. We screened those 58 tumors for somatic mutations in the beta-catenin gene. Although amino acid substitutions in serine or threonine residues in exon 3 had been reported, we found no such mutations; however, in seven tumors, we detected somatic interstitial deletions of 234-760 bp, each of which included all or part of exon 3. Short nucleotide sequences at both ends of each deletion were either identical or complementary, indicating that repeated or inversely repeated sequences were involved in the somatic rearrangements. Reverse transcription-PCR experiments using RNAs isolated from three of these seven tumors detected transcripts that lacked exon 3, in addition to the normal transcript. In one of these cases, we confirmed accumulation of aberrant beta-catenin protein in cytoplasm and nuclei of cancer cells by Western and immunohistochemical analyses. This result suggested that, in the absence of a peptide encoded by exon 3, beta-catenin is stabilized and has a dominant oncogenic effect on colorectal tumorigenesis.
Genesis of the trophectoderm and inner cell mass (ICM) lineages occurs in two stages. It is initiated via asymmetric divisions of eight- and 16-cell blastomeres that allocate cells to inner and outer positions, each with different developmental fates. Outside cells become committed to the trophectoderm at the blastocyst stage through Cdx2 activity, but here we show that Cdx2 can also act earlier to influence cell allocation. Increasing Cdx2 levels in individual blastomeres promotes symmetric divisions, thereby allocating more cells to the trophectoderm, whereas reducing Cdx2 promotes asymmetric divisions and consequently contribution to the ICM. Furthermore, both Cdx2 mRNA and protein levels are heterogeneous at the eight-cell stage. This heterogeneity depends on cell origin and has developmental consequences. Cdx2 expression is minimal in cells with unrestricted developmental potential that contribute preferentially to the ICM and is maximal in cells with reduced potential that contribute more to the trophectoderm. Finally, we describe a mutually reinforcing relationship between cellular polarity and Cdx2: Cdx2 influences cell polarity by up-regulating aPKC, but cell polarity also influences Cdx2 through asymmetric distribution of Cdx2 mRNA in polarized blastomeres. Thus, divisions generating inside and outside cells are truly asymmetric with respect to cell fate instructions. These two interacting effects ensure the generation of a stable outer epithelium by the blastocyst stage.
Using a yeast two-hybrid method, we identified a novel protein which interacts with glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK-3beta). This protein had 44% amino acid identity with Axin, a negative regulator of the Wnt signaling pathway. We designated this protein Axil for Axin like. Like Axin, Axil ventralized Xenopus embryos and inhibited Xwnt8-induced Xenopus axis duplication. Axil was phosphorylated by GSK-3beta. Axil bound not only to GSK-3beta but also to beta-catenin, and the GSK-3beta-binding site of Axil was distinct from the beta-catenin-binding site. Furthermore, Axil enhanced GSK-3beta-dependent phosphorylation of beta-catenin. These results indicate that Axil negatively regulates the Wnt signaling pathway by mediating GSK-3beta-dependent phosphorylation of beta-catenin, thereby inhibiting axis formation.
Canonical Wnt signaling is mediated by a molecular "switch" that regulates the transcriptional properties of the T-cell factor (TCF) family of DNA-binding proteins. Members of the myeloid translocation gene (MTG) family of transcriptional corepressors are frequently disrupted by chromosomal translocations in acute myeloid leukemia, whereas MTG16 may be inactivated in up to 40% of breast cancer and MTG8 is a candidate cancer gene in colorectal carcinoma. Genetic studies imply that this corepressor family may function in stem cells. Given that mice lacking Myeloid Translocation Gene Related-1 (Mtgr1) fail to maintain the secretory lineage in the small intestine, we surveyed transcription factors that might recruit Mtgr1 in intestinal stem cells or progenitor cells and found that MTG family members associate specifically with TCF4. Coexpression of beta-catenin disrupted the association between these corepressors and TCF4. Furthermore, when expressed in Xenopus embryos, MTG family members inhibited axis formation and impaired the ability of beta-catenin and XLef-1 to induce axis duplication, indicating that MTG family members act downstream of beta-catenin. Moreover, we found that c-Myc, a transcriptional target of the Wnt pathway, was overexpressed in the small intestines of mice lacking Mtgr1, thus linking inactivation of Mtgr1 to the activation of a potent oncogene.
Bronchiolar Clara cells undergo phenotypic changes during development and in disease. These changes are poorly described due to a paucity of molecular markers. We used chemical and transgenic approaches to ablate Clara cells, allowing identification of their unique gene expression profile. Flavin monooxygenase 3 (Fmo3), paraoxonase 1 (Pon1), aldehyde oxidase 3 (Aox3), and claudin 10 (Cldn10) were identified as novel Clara cell markers. New and existing Clara cell marker genes were categorized into three classes based on their unique developmental expression pattern. Cldn10 was uniformly expressed in the epithelium at Embryonic Day (E)14.5 and became restricted to secretory cells at E18.5. This transition was defined by induction of CCSP. Maturation of secretory cells was associated with progressive increases in the expression of Fmo3, Pon1, Aox3, and Cyp2f2 between late embryonic and postnatal periods. Messenger RNA abundance of all categories of genes was dramatically decreased after naphthalene-induced airway injury, and displayed a sequence of temporal induction during repair that suggested sequential secretory cell maturation. We have defined a broader repertoire of Clara cell-specific genes that allows staging of epithelial maturation during development and repair.
Distant metastasis is the major cause of cancer-related death, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has a critical role in this process. Accumulating evidence indicates that EMT can be regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs). miR-29c has been implicated as a tumor suppressor in several human cancers. However, the role of miR-29c in the progression of colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasis remains largely unknown.
The expression of miR-29c was examined by qRT-PCR in a cohort of primary CRC (PC) and distant liver metastasis (LM) tissues. A series of in vivo and in vitro assays were carried out in order to elucidate the functions of miR-29c and the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of metastatic CRC.
miR-29c was markedly downregulated in PCs with distant metastasis and determined to be an independent predictor of shortened patient survival. But LM tissues showed higher levels of miR-29c than that in PC tissues. In CRC cells, miR-29c dramatically suppressed cell migration and invasion abilities in vitro and cancer metastasis in vivo. In addition, miR-29c inhibited EMT and negatively regulated Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Guanine nucleotide binding protein alpha13 (GNA13) and protein tyrosine phosphatase type IVA (PTP4A) were identified as direct targets of miR-29c, which acted through ERK/GSK3β/β-catenin and AKT/GSK3β/β-catenin pathways, respectively, to regulate EMT. Furthermore, significant associations between miR-29c, its target genes (GNA13 and PTP4A) and EMT markers were validated in both PC and LM tissues.
Our findings highlight the important role of miR-29c in regulating CRC EMT via GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling by targeting GNA13 and PTP4A and provide new insights into the metastatic basis of CRC.
Ezrin, radixin, moesin and merlin form a subfamily of conserved proteins in the band 4.1 superfamily. The function of these proteins is to link the plasma membrane to the actin cytoskeleton. Merlin is defective or absent in schwannomas and meningiomas and has been suggested to function as a tumour suppressor. In this study, we have examined the role of ezrin as a potential regulator of the adhesive and invasive behaviour of tumour cells. We have shown that following inhibition of ezrin expression in colo-rectal cancer cells using antisense oligonucleotides, these cells displayed a reduced cell-cell adhesiveness together with a gain in their motile and invasive behaviour. These cells also displayed increased spreading over matrix-coated surfaces. Immunofluorescence studies revealed that antisense-treated cells also displayed an increased staining of paxillin in areas representing focal adhesions. Furthermore, coprecipitation studies revealed an association of ezrin with E-cadherin and beta-catenin. Induction of the phosphorylation of ezrin by orthovanadate and hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor resulted in changes similar to those seen with antisense treatment, together with a marked decrease in the association of ezrin with both beta-catenin and E-cadherin. It is concluded that ezrin regulates cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, by interacting with cell adhesion molecules E-cadherin and beta-catenin, and may thus play an important role in the control of adhesion and invasiveness of cancer cells.
Beta-catenin can function as an oncogene when it is translocated to the nucleus, binds to T-cell factor (TCF) or lymphoid enhance factor and transactivate its target gene. The mechanism responsible for the activation of Wnt signaling pathway in the Cytotoxin-associated antigen A (CagA) Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)-infected gastric carcinoma has not been elucidated. We hypothesize that whether interaction of MUC1 with beta-catenin modulates the Wnt signaling and its target gene cyclinD1 in CagA H. pylori-infected gastric carcinoma. The result demonstrate that binding of MUC1 CT with Protein Kinase C delta (PKC delta), tyrosine phosphorylation of MUC1 CT, and CagA are strongly associated with the interaction of MUC1 with beta-catenin in CagA H. pylori-infected gastric carcinoma. A statistically significant difference (chi(2) = 24.49; P < 0.001) was found when the binding of MUC1 CT and beta-catenin was compared to subcellular localization of beta-catenin. We also observed significant statistical correlation (chi(2) = 14.885; P < 0.001) between the cyclinD1 overexpression and the subcellular localization of beta-catenin. The overexpression of cyclinD1 was significantly higher (chi(2) = 13.785; P < 0.002) in advanced gastric carcinoma with CagA H. pylori infection. In addition cyclinD1 overexpression was significantly higher (chi(2) = 37.267; P < 0.001) with the interaction of MUC1 CT with beta-catenin in advanced gastric cancer. These findings indicate that MUC1 CT plays a role in the intracellular signaling through its interaction with beta-catenin and upregulate the Wnt target gene cyclinD1 in CagA H. pylori-infected gastric carcinoma.
The key read-out of Wnt signalling is a change in the transcriptional profile of the cell, which is driven by β-catenin. β-catenin levels are normally kept low by a phosphorylation event that is mediated by glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3, α- and β-isoforms), which targets β-catenin for ubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation. Wnt blocks this phosphorylation event, thereby allowing β-catenin to accumulate and to co-activate transcription in the nucleus. Exactly how Wnt inhibits GSK3 activity towards β-catenin is unclear and has been the focus of intensive research. Recent studies on the role of conserved PPPSPxS motifs in the cytoplasmic tail of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP, isoforms 5 and 6) culminated in a biochemical model: Wnt induces the phosphorylation of LRP6 PPPSPxS motifs, which consequently access the catalytic pocket of GSK3 as pseudo-substrates, thus directly blocking its activity against β-catenin. A distinct cell-biological model was proposed more recently: Wnt proteins induce the uptake of GSK3 into multivesicular bodies (MVBs), an event that sequesters the enzyme away from newly synthesised β-catenin substrate in the cytoplasm, thus blocking its phosphorylation. This new model is based on intriguing observations but also challenges a body of existing evidence, so will require further experimental consolidation. We shall consider whether the two models apply to different modes of Wnt signaling: acute versus chronic.
Heart formation requires the coordinated recruitment of multiple cardiac progenitor cell populations derived from both the first and second heart fields. In this study, we have ablated the Bmp receptor 1a and the Wnt effector beta-catenin in the developing heart of mice by using MesP1-cre, which acts in early mesoderm progenitors that contribute to both first and second heart fields. Remarkably, the entire cardiac crescent and later the primitive ventricle were absent in MesP1-cre; BmpR1a(lox/lox) mutants. Although myocardial progenitor markers such as Nkx2-5 and Isl1 and the differentiation marker MLC2a were detected in the small, remaining cardiac field in these mutants, the first heart field markers, eHand and Tbx-5, were not expressed. We conclude from these results that Bmp receptor signaling is crucial for the specification of the first heart field. In MesP1-cre; beta-catenin(lox/lox) mutants, cardiac crescent formation, as well as first heart field markers, were not affected, although cardiac looping and right ventricle formation were blocked. Expression of Isl1 and Bmp4 in second heart field progenitors was strongly reduced. In contrast, in a gain-of-function mutation of beta-catenin using MesP1-cre, we revealed an expansion of Isl1 and Bmp4 expressing cells, although the heart tube was not formed. We conclude from these results that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates second heart-field development, and that a precise amount and/or timing of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is required for proper heart tube formation and cardiac looping.
Tolfenamic acid is one of the fenamic acid-derived non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and has been shown to exhibit anti-cancer activities in several types of cancer. Both mutations and aberrant expression of β-catenin are highly associated with progression of cancer. Therefore, β-catenin is considered to be a promising molecular target for cancer prevention and treatment. The current study investigates the role of tolfenamic acid on β-catenin expression in colon cancer. Treatment with tolfenamic acid led to inhibition of cell growth and down-regulation of β-catenin expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner in human colon cancer cell lines. Reduction of β-catenin upon tolfenamic acid treatment was associated with ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation, without affecting mRNA level and promoter activity of β-catenin. In addition, treatment with tolfenamic acid downregulated Smad2 and Smad3 expression, while overexpression of Smad2, but not Smad3, blocked tolfenamic acid-induced suppression of β-catenin expression. Tolfenamic acid also decreased expression of β-catenin target genes, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Compared to adjacent normal tissue, intestinal tumor tissues of Apc(Min/+) mice exhibited increased expression of β-catenin, Smad2, Smad3, and VEGF, which were down-regulated with tolfenamic acid treatment at a dose of 50mg/kg body weight. In conclusion, our findings suggest that tolfenamic acid inhibits growth of colon cancer cells through downregulation of Smad2 and, subsequently, facilitating ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated β-catenin degradation in colon cancer.
Loss of polycystin-2 (PC2) in mice (Pkd2(-/-)) results in total body edema, focal hemorrhage, structural cardiac defects, abnormal left-right axis, hepatorenal and pancreatic cysts, and embryonic lethality. The molecular mechanisms by which loss of PC2 leads to these phenotypes remain unknown. We generated a model to allow targeted Pkd2 inactivation using the Cre-loxP system. Global inactivation of Pkd2 produced a phenotype identical to Pkd2(-/-) mice with undetectable PC2 protein and perinatal lethality. Using various Cre mouse lines, we found that kidney, pancreas, or time-specific deletion of Pkd2 led to cyst formation. In addition, we developed an immortalized renal collecting duct cell line with inactive Pkd2; these cells had aberrant cell-cell contact, ciliogenesis, and tubulomorphogenesis. They also significantly upregulated beta-catenin, axin2, and cMyc. Our results suggest that loss of PC2 disrupts normal behavior of renal epithelial cells through dysregulation of beta-catenin-dependent signaling, revealing a potential role for this signaling pathway in PC2-associated ADPKD.
Activation of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) has anti-tumor effects in colon cancer cells but the mechanisms are not fully understood. This study has examined the regulation of beta-catenin/TCF signaling, as this pathway has been highlighted as central to the anti-tumor effects of PKG. We show that PKG activation in SW620 cells results in reduced beta-catenin expression and a dramatic inhibition of TCF-dependent transcription. PKG did not affect protein stability, nor did it increase phosphorylation of the amino-terminal Ser33/37/Thr41 residues that are known to target beta-catenin for degradation. However, we found that PKG potently inhibited transcription from a luciferase reporter driven by the human CTNNB1 promoter, and this corresponded to reduced beta-catenin mRNA levels. Although PKG was able to inhibit transcription from both the CTNNB1 and TCF reporters, the effect on protein levels was less consistent. Ectopic PKG had a marginal effect on beta-catenin protein levels in SW480 and HCT116 but was able to inhibit TCF-reporter activity by over 80%. Investigation of alternative mechanisms revealed that cJun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation was required for the PKG-dependent regulation of TCF activity. PKG activation caused beta-catenin to bind to FOXO4 in colon cancer cells, and this required JNK. Activation of PKG was also found to increase the nuclear content of FOXO4 and increase the expression of the FOXO target genes MnSOD and catalase. FOXO4 activation was required for the inhibition of TCF activity as FOXO4-specific short-interfering RNA completely blocked the inhibitory effect of PKG. These data illustrate a dual-inhibitory effect of PKG on TCF activity in colon cancer cells that involves reduced expression of beta-catenin at the transcriptional level, and also beta-catenin sequestration by FOXO4 activation.
The canonical Wnt signaling pathway is critical for skeletal development and maintenance, but the precise roles of the individual Wnt co-receptors, Lrp5 and Lrp6, that enable Wnt signals to be transmitted in osteoblasts remain controversial. In these studies, we used Cre-loxP recombination, in which Cre-expression is driven by the human osteocalcin promoter, to determine the individual contributions of Lrp5 and Lrp6 in postnatal bone acquisition and osteoblast function. Mice selectively lacking either Lrp5 or Lrp6 in mature osteoblasts were born at the expected Mendelian frequency but demonstrated significant reductions in whole-body bone mineral density. Bone architecture measured by microCT revealed that Lrp6 mutant mice failed to accumulate normal amounts of trabecular bone. By contrast, Lrp5 mutants had normal trabecular bone volume at 8 weeks of age, but with age, these mice also exhibited trabecular bone loss. Both mutants also exhibited significant alterations in cortical bone structure. In vitro differentiation was impaired in both Lrp5 and Lrp6 null osteoblasts as indexed by alkaline phosphatase and Alizarin red staining, but the defect was more pronounced in Lrp6 mutant cells. Mice lacking both Wnt co-receptors developed severe osteopenia similar to that observed previously in mice lacking β-catenin in osteoblasts. Likewise, calvarial cells doubly deficient for Lrp5 and Lrp6 failed to form osteoblasts when cultured in osteogenic media, but instead attained a chondrocyte-like phenotype. These results indicate that expression of both Lrp5 and Lrp6 are required within mature osteoblasts for normal postnatal bone development.
Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is required for skeletal development and organization and for function of the growth plate and articular cartilage. To further clarify these roles and their possible pathophysiological importance, we created a new transgenic mouse model in which Wnt/beta-catenin signaling can be activated in cartilage for specific periods of time. These transgenic mice expressed a constitutive active form of beta-catenin fused to a modified estrogen receptor ligand-binding domain under the control of cartilage-specific collagen 11alpha2 promoter/enhancer. Transient Wnt/beta-catenin signaling activation in young adult mice by tamoxifen injections induced growth retardation and severe deformities in knee joints. Tibial and femoral growth plates displayed an excessive number of apoptotic cells and eventually underwent abnormal regression. Articular cartilage exhibited an initial acute loss of proteoglycan matrix that was followed by increases in thickness, cell density, and cell proliferation. In reciprocal studies, we found that conditional ablation of beta-catenin in postnatal mice using a Col2-CreER strategy led to hypocellularity in articular cartilage, growth plate disorganization, and a severe reduction in bone volume. Together, these data provide evidence that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling has important and distinct roles in growth plate and articular cartilage and that postnatal dysregulation of this signaling pathway causes diverse structural and functional changes in the two cartilaginous structures.
Pten is a tumor-suppressor gene involved in stem cell homeostasis and tumorigenesis. In mouse, Pten expression is ubiquitous and begins as early as 7 days of gestation. Pten(-/-) mouse embryos die early during gestation indicating a critical role for Pten in embryonic development.
To test the role of Pten in lung development and injury.
We conditionally deleted Pten throughout the lung epithelium by crossing Pten(flox/flox) with Nkx2.1-cre driver mice. The resulting Pten(Nkx2.1-cre) mutants were analyzed for lung defects and response to injury.
Pten(Nkx2.1-cre) embryonic lungs showed airway epithelial hyperplasia with no branching abnormalities. In adult mice, Pten(Nkx2.1-cre) lungs exhibit increased progenitor cell pools composed of basal cells in the trachea, CGRP/CC10 double-positive neuroendocrine cells in the bronchi, and CC10/SPC double-positive cells at the bronchioalveolar duct junctions. Pten deletion affected differentiation of various lung epithelial cell lineages, with a decreased number of terminally differentiated cells. Over time, Pten(Nxk2.1-cre) epithelial cells residing in the bronchioalveolar duct junctions underwent proliferation and formed uniform masses, supporting the concept that the cells residing in this distal niche may also be the source of procarcinogenic stem cells. Finally, increased progenitor cells in all the lung compartments conferred an overall selective advantage to naphthalene injury compared with wild-type control mice.
Pten has a pivotal role in lung stem cell homeostasis, cell differentiation, and consequently resistance to lung injury.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) complexes counteract many oncogenic kinase pathways. In cancer cells, PP2A function can be compromised by several mechanisms, including sporadic mutations in its scaffolding A and regulatory B subunits or more frequently through overexpression of cellular PP2A inhibitors. Here, we identify a novel genetic mechanism by which PP2A function is recurrently affected in human cancer, involving haploinsufficiency of PPP2R4, a gene encoding the cellular PP2A activator PTPA. Notably, up to 70% of cancer patients showed a heterozygous deletion or missense mutations in PPP2R4 Cancer-associated PTPA mutants exhibited decreased abilities to bind the PP2A-C subunit or activate PP2A and failed to reverse the tumorigenic phenotype induced by PTPA suppression, indicating they function as null alleles. In Ppp2r4 gene-trapped (gt) mice showing residual PTPA expression, total PP2A activity and methylation were reduced, selectively affecting specific PP2A holoenzymes. Both PTPAgt/gt and PTPA+/gt mice showed higher rates of spontaneous tumors, mainly hematologic malignancies and hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas. These tumors exhibited increased c-Myc phosphorylation and increased Wnt or Hedgehog signaling. We observed a significant reduction in lifespan in PTPA+/gt mice compared with wild-type mice. In addition, chemical-induced skin carcinogenesis was accelerated in PTPA+/gt compared with wild-type mice. Our results provide evidence for PPP2R4 as a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor gene, defining a high-penetrance genetic mechanism for PP2A inhibition in human cancer. Cancer Res; 77(24); 6825-37. ©2017 AACR.
At the heart of the canonical Wnt signaling cascade, adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), axin, and GSK3 constitute the so-called destruction complex, which controls the stability of beta-catenin. It is generally believed that four conserved Ser/Thr residues in the N terminus of beta-catenin are the pivotal targets for the constitutively active serine kinase GSK3. In cells that do not receive Wnt signals, glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) is presumed to phosphorylate beta-catenin, thus marking the latter for proteasomal degradation. Wnt signaling inhibits GSK3 activity. As a consequence, beta-catenin would no longer be phosphorylated and accumulate to form nuclear complexes with TCF/LEF factors. Although mutations in or near the N-terminal Ser/Thr residues stabilize beta-catenin in several types of cancer, the hypothesis that Wnt signaling controls phosphorylation of these residues remains unproven. We have generated a monoclonal antibody that recognizes an epitope containing two of the four residues when both are not phosphorylated. The epitope is generated upon Wnt signaling as well as upon pharmacological inhibition of GSK3 by lithium, providing formal proof for the regulated phosphorylation of the Ser/Thr residues of beta-catenin by Wnt signaling. Immunohistochemical analysis of mouse embryos utilizing the antibody visualizes sites that transduce Wnt signals through the canonical Wnt cascade.
beta-catenin plays essential roles in cell adhesion and Wnt signaling, while deregulation of beta-catenin is associated with multiple diseases including cancers. Here, we report the crystal structures of full-length zebrafish beta-catenin and a human beta-catenin fragment that contains both the armadillo repeat and the C-terminal domains. Our structures reveal that the N-terminal region of the C-terminal domain, a key component of the C-terminal transactivation domain, forms a long alpha helix that packs on the C-terminal end of the armadillo repeat domain, and thus forms part of the beta-catenin superhelical core. The existence of this helix redefines our view of interactions of beta-catenin with some of its critical partners, including ICAT and Chibby, which may form extensive interactions with this C-terminal domain alpha helix. Our crystallographic and NMR studies also suggest that the unstructured N-terminal and C-terminal tails interact with the ordered armadillo repeat domain in a dynamic and variable manner.
Here we describe a novel member of the receptor-like protein-tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) termed PTP lambda, which is homologous to the homotypically adherent PTPs kappa and mu. Murine PTP lambda contains MAM, IgG, fibronectin type III, and dual phosphatase domains. As has been demonstrated for PTPs kappa and mu, PTP lambda mediates homotypic adhesion in vitro, and PTP lambda is associated with beta catenin in kidney epithelial cells. The extracellular domain of PTP lambda is proteolytically processed in cell culture as well as in vivo. Northern blot analysis reveals that PTP lambda is expressed throughout embryonic development and is predominately found in adult brain, lung, and kidney. In situ hybridization to 15.5-day old rat embryos reveals that PTP lambda is expressed in a variety of embryonic neuronal sites as well as in the esophagus, lung bronchiolar epithelium, kidney glomerular epithelium, olfactory epithelium, and various cartilagenous sites. Analysis of neonatal brain demonstrates expression in cells of the hippocampus, cortex, and the substantia nigra. Finally, immunohistochemical analysis reveals expression of this PTP on specific neurons of the spinal cord as well as on isolated cortical neurons.
Multiple complications can ensue in the cardiovascular, renal, and nervous systems during diabetes mellitus (DM). Given that endothelial cells (ECs) are susceptible targets to elevated serum D-glucose, identification of novel cellular mechanisms that can protect ECs may foster the development of unique strategies for the prevention and treatment of DM complications. Erythropoietin (EPO) represents one of these novel strategies but the dependence of EPO upon Wnt1 and its downstream signaling in a clinically relevant model of DM with elevated D-glucose has not been elucidated. Here we show that EPO can not only maintain the integrity of EC membranes, but also prevent apoptotic nuclear DNA degradation and the externalization of membrane phosphatidylserine (PS) residues during elevated D-glucose over a 48-hour period. EPO modulates the expression of Wnt1 and utilizes Wnt1 to confer EC protection during elevated D-glucose exposure, since application of a Wnt1 neutralizing antibody, treatment with the Wnt1 antagonist DKK-1, or gene silencing of Wnt1 with Wnt1 siRNA transfection abrogates the protective capability of EPO. EPO through a novel Wnt1 dependent mechanism controls the post-translational phosphorylation of the "pro-apoptotic" forkhead member FoxO3a and blocks the trafficking of FoxO3a to the cell nucleus to prevent apoptotic demise. EPO also employs the activation of protein kinase B (Akt1) to foster phosphorylation of GSK-3β that appears required for EPO vascular protection. Through this inhibition of GSK-3β, EPO maintains β-catenin activity, allows the translocation of β-catenin from the EC cytoplasm to the nucleus through a Wnt1 pathway, and requires β-catenin for protection against elevated D-glucose since gene silencing of β-catenin eliminates the ability of EPO as well as Wnt1 to increase EC survival. Subsequently, we show that EPO requires modulation of both Wnt1 and FoxO3a to oversee mitochondrial membrane depolarization, cytochrome c release, and caspase activation during elevated D-glucose. Our studies identify critical elements of the protective cascade for EPO that rely upon modulation of Wnt1, Akt1, FoxO3a, GSK-3β, β-catenin, and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways for the development of new strategies against DM vascular complications.
WNT/beta-catenin signaling has an established role in nephron formation during kidney development. Yet, the role of beta-catenin during ureteric morphogenesis in vivo is undefined. We generated a murine genetic model of beta-catenin deficiency targeted to the ureteric bud cell lineage. Newborn mutant mice demonstrated bilateral renal aplasia or renal dysplasia. Analysis of the embryologic events leading to this phenotype revealed that abnormal ureteric branching at E12.5 precedes histologic abnormalities at E13.5. Microarray analysis of E12.5 kidney tissue identified decreased Emx2 and Lim1 expression among a small subset of renal patterning genes disrupted at the stage of abnormal branching. These alterations are followed by decreased expression of genes downstream of Emx2, including Lim1, Pax2, and the ureteric tip markers, c-ret and Wnt 11. Together, these data demonstrate that beta-catenin performs essential functions during renal branching morphogenesis via control of a hierarchy of genes that control ureteric branching.
Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is highly active in the dorsal retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) during eye development. To study the role of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the RPE development we used a conditional Cre/loxP system in mice to inactivate or ectopically activate Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the RPE. Inactivation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling results in transdifferentiation of RPE to neural retina (NR) as documented by downregulation of RPE-specific markers Mitf and Otx2 and ectopic expression of NR-specific markers Chx10 and Rx, respectively. In contrast, ectopic activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling results in the disruption of the RPE patterning, indicating that precise spatial and temporal regulation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is required for normal RPE development. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and reporter gene assays we provide evidence that Otx2 and RPE-specific isoform of Mitf, Mitf-H, are direct transcriptional targets of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Combined, our data suggest that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling plays an essential role in development of RPE by maintaining or inducing expression of Mitf and Otx2.
Aberrant WNT signal transduction is involved in many diseases. In colorectal cancer and melanoma, mutational disruption of proteins involved in the degradation of beta-catenin, the key effector of the WNT signaling pathway, results in stabilization of beta-catenin and, in turn, activation of transcription. We have used tandem-affinity protein purification and mass spectrometry to define the protein interaction network of the beta-catenin destruction complex. This assay revealed that WTX, a protein encoded by a gene mutated in Wilms tumors, forms a complex with beta-catenin, AXIN1, beta-TrCP2 (beta-transducin repeat-containing protein 2), and APC (adenomatous polyposis coli). Functional analyses in cultured cells, Xenopus, and zebrafish demonstrate that WTX promotes beta-catenin ubiquitination and degradation, which antagonize WNT/beta-catenin signaling. These data provide a possible mechanistic explanation for the tumor suppressor activity of WTX.