The loss of β-catenin inhibitory components is a well-established mechanism of carcinogenesis but β-catenin hyperactivity can also be enhanced through its coactivators. Here we first interrogated a highly validated genomic screen and the largest repository of cancer genomics data and identified JRK as a potential new oncogene and therapeutic target of the β-catenin pathway. We proceeded to validate the oncogenic role of JRK in colon cancer cells and primary tumors. Consistent with a β-catenin activator function, depletion of JRK in several cancer cell lines repressed β-catenin transcriptional activity and reduced cell proliferation. Importantly, JRK expression was aberrantly elevated in 21% of colorectal cancers, 15% of breast and ovarian cancers and was associated with increased expression of β-catenin target genes and increased cell proliferation. This study shows that JRK is required for β-catenin hyperactivity regardless of the adenomatous polyposis coli/β-catenin mutation status and targeting JRK presents new opportunities for therapeutic intervention in cancer.Read more
Cancer stem cells (CSC) have attracted attention as therapeutic targets; however, CSC-targeting therapy may disrupt normal tissue homeostasis because many CSC molecules are also expressed by normal stem cells (NSC). Here, we demonstrate that NSC-specific and CSC-specific roles of the stem cell transcription factor Hes1 in the intestine enable the feasibility of a specific cancer therapy. Hes1 expression was upregulated in NSCs and intestinal tumors. Lineage-tracing experiments in adult mouse intestine revealed that Hes1 deletion in Lgr5+ or Bmi1+ NSCs resulted in loss of self-renewal but did not perturb homeostasis. Furthermore, in Lgr5+ NSC, deletion of Hes1 and β-catenin stabilization limited tumor formation and prolonged host survival. Notably, in Lgr5+ or Dclk1+ tumor stem cells derived from established intestinal tumors, Hes1 deletion triggered immediate apoptosis, reducing tumor burden. Our results show how Hes1 plays different roles in NSCs and CSCs, in which Hes1 disruption leads to tumor regression without perturbing normal stem cell homeostasis, preclinically validating Hes1 as a cancer therapeutic target. Cancer Res; 77(13); 3442-54. ©2017 AACR.Read more
Histamine signaling is a principal regulator in a variety of pathophysiological processes including inflammation, gastric acid secretion, neurotransmission, and tumor growth. We report that histamine stimulation causes transactivation of a T cell factor/beta-catenin-responsive construct in HeLa cells and in the SW-480 colon cell line, whereas histamine did not effect transactivation of a construct containing the mutated response construct FOP. On the protein level, histamine treatment increases phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta in HeLa cells, murine macrophages, and DLD-1, HT-29, and SW-480 colon cell lines. Furthermore, histamine also decreases the phosphorylated beta-catenin content in HeLa cells and murine macrophages. Finally, pharmacological inhibitors of the histamine H1 receptor counteracted histamine-induced T cell factor/beta-catenin-responsive construct transactivation and the dephosphorylation of beta-catenin in HeLa cells and in macrophages. We conclude that the canonical beta-catenin pathway acts downstream of the histamine receptor H1 in a variety of cell types. The observation that inflammatory molecules, like histamine, activate the beta-catenin pathway may provide a molecular explanation for a possible link between inflammation and cancer.Read more
Increasing evidence includes Wnt proteins inside the group of master-signaling pathways that govern immune and nonimmune differentiation systems, fundamental for normal development and homeostasis. Although their precise functions in bone marrow and thymus are still controversial, numerous studies have shown that Wnt signaling is able to control the proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells and thymic progenitors and might also affect their cell-fate decisions and subsequent maturation. In the present work, we analyze the effect of transient stimulation of the canonical Wnt pathway in the differentiation potential of Lin(-)CD34(+) CD1a(-) human thymic progenitors, a multipotent and heterogeneous cell population that has the capacity to develop into T cells, NK cells, monocytes, cDC, and pDC. Our results demonstrate that giving a boost to canonical Wnt signaling, triggered by transient exposure to Wnt3a or LiCl, the differentiation capacity of thymic progenitors changes, enhancing NK cell production. On the contrary, Wnt3a- or LiCl-pretreated thymic progenitors generate a significantly lower number of myeloid lineage cells, monocytes, and cDC and exhibit a reduced capacity to differentiate into pDC lineage. As a possible mechanism for this effect, we show that Wnt3a- and LiCl-pretreated progenitors change their membrane levels of receptors for cytokines pivotal for their expansion and differentiation, such as Flt3L. Moreover, canonical Wnt pathway stimulation modifies the transcription factor profile of CD34(+)CD1(-) thymocytes, increasing Hes-1 and ID3 expression levels.Read more
Wnt signaling is important in development and carcinogenesis. We previously showed that active β-catenin or Lef-1 in the mammalian retinal culture prevents differentiation of retinal cells without modifying cellular proliferation. In this study, we investigated the in vivo role of β-catenin in mouse retinal differentiation in transgenic mice, in which retinal-specific activation or inactivation of β-catenin was achieved with Cre recombinase. The gain-of-function mice exhibited small eyes and large cell aggregates consisting of early progenitor cells labeled with SSEA-1 in the peripheral retina. In the loss-of-function mice, we observed a reduced number of SSEA-1-positive progenitor cells and the presence of differentiated cells in the β-catenin ablated retinal region. Interestingly, the number of proliferating cells in the β-catenin gain-of-function mice was highly downregulated, and the proliferation index detected by Ki67 expression was slightly lower than that of control mice in the β-catenin loss-of-function mice. The Gsk-3β inhibitor BIO induced expression of Id3, which was highly expressed in SSEA-1-positive cells, and transiently maintained SSEA-1-positive retinal progenitor cells (RPCs). Forced expression of Id3 in RPCs mimicked the effects of BIO. Taken together, β-catenin signaling regulates the timing of differentiation in RPCs by inhibiting premature differentiation of them partly through the regulation of Id3 expression.Read more
The aim of the present study was to characterize the mechanism underlying estrogen effects on the androgen-independent prostate cancer cell line PC-3. 17β-estradiol and the ERβ-selective agonist DPN, but not the ERα-selective agonist PPT, increased the incorporation of [methyl-(3)H]thymidine and the expression of Cyclin D2, suggesting that ERβ mediates the proliferative effect of estrogen on PC-3 cells. In addition, upregulation of Cyclin D2 and incorporation of [methyl-(3)H]thymidine induced by 17β-estradiol and DPN were blocked by the ERβ-selective antagonist PHTPP in PC-3 cells. Upregulation of Cyclin D2 and incorporation of [methyl-(3)H]thymidine induced by DPN were also blocked by PKF118-310, a compound that disrupts β-catenin-TCF (T-cell-specific transcription factor) complex, suggesting the involvement of β-catenin in the estradiol effects in PC-3 cells. A diffuse immunostaining for non-phosphorylated β-catenin was detected in the cytoplasm of PC-3 cells. Low levels of non-phosphorylated β-catenin immunostaining were also detected near the plasma membrane and in nuclei. Treatment of PC-3 cells with 17β-estradiol or DPN markedly increased non-phosphorylated β-catenin expression. These effects were blocked by pretreatment with the ERβ-selective antagonist PHTPP, PI3K inhibitor Wortmannin or AKT inhibitor MK-2206, indicating that ERβ-PI3K/AKT mediates non-phosphorylated β-catenin expression. Cycloheximide blocked the DPN-induced upregulation of non-phosphorylated β-catenin, suggesting de novo synthesis of this protein. In conclusion, these results suggest that estrogen may play a role in androgen-independent prostate cancer cell proliferation through a novel pathway, involving ERβ-mediated activation of β-catenin.Read more
The Cripto-1 (CR-1) derived EGF-CFC family was overexpressed in tumor development enhancing proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and migration of tumor cells. However, correlation between CR-1 and prostate cancer (PCa) remains still unclear. In the present study, we proved that CR-1 was expressed in PCa and its function was in the progression of PCa. Compared with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) tissues, we confirmed that PCa tissues had high expression of CR-1 by immunohistochemistry and statistical data showed that CR-1 promoted properties of EMT in PCa tissues, including the downregulation of the cell adhesion molecules β-catenin (membrane) and E-cadherin while upregulating transcription factors β-catenin. Overexpression of CR-1 had close relationship with PSA, Gleason, clinical staging and lymph node metastasis in PCa patients. Then, we found that PC-3 cells transfected with CR-1-shRNA inhibited EMT using RT-PCR, RT-qPCR, western blotting and immunofluorescence. Also, we evaluated cell invasive ability in vitro by transwell and wound-healing assay. Our data showed that transfected CR-1-shRNA altered EMT including β-catenin, E-cadherin, c-myc, GSK-3, p-GSK and Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PC-3. It also suppressed PC-3 cell migration. Additionally, our results displayed that Licl had antitumor activity against PC-3 through the inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Inhibition of cell viability was dose-time dependent. The present study proved that CR-1 regulates EMT of PCa by Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Hence, CR-1 may provide a new biological marker, and possibly contributes to clinical treatment against PCa.Read more
Adrenocortical adenomas (ACAs) are among the most frequent human neoplasias. Genetic alterations affecting the cAMP/protein kinase A signaling pathway are common in cortisol-producing ACAs, whereas activating mutations in the gene encoding β-catenin (CTNNB1) have been reported in a subset of both benign and malignant adrenocortical tumors. However, the molecular pathogenesis of most ACAs is still largely unclear.
The aim of the study was to define the genetic landscape of sporadic unilateral ACAs.
Next-generation whole-exome sequencing was performed on fresh-frozen tumor samples and corresponding normal tissue samples.
Ninety-nine patients with ACAs (74 cortisol-producing and 25 endocrine inactive) negative for p.Leu206Arg PRKACA mutation.
Identification of known and/or new genetic alterations potentially involved in adrenocortical tumorigenesis and autonomous hormone secretion, genotype-phenotype correlation.
A total of 706 somatic protein-altering mutations were detected in 88 of 99 tumors (median, six per tumor). We identified several mutations in genes of the cAMP/protein kinase A pathway, including three novel mutations in PRKACA, associated with female sex and Cushing's syndrome. We also found genetic alterations in different genes involved in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, associated with larger tumors and endocrine inactivity, and notably, in many genes of the Ca(2+)-signaling pathway. Finally, by comparison of our genetic data with those available in the literature, we describe a comprehensive genetic landscape of unilateral ACAs.
This study provides the largest sequencing effort on ACAs to date. We thereby identified somatic alterations affecting known and novel pathways potentially involved in adrenal tumorigenesis.Read more
The expression of 350 microRNAs (miRNAs) in epididymis of rat from postnatal development to adult (from postnatal days 7-70) was profiled with home-made miRNA microarray. Among them, 48 miRNAs changed significantly, in which the expression of miR-200a increased obviously with time, in a good agreement with that obtained from northern blot analysis. The real-time quantitative-polymerase chain reaction result indicated that temporal expression of rat β-catenin was exactly inversed to that of miR-200a during rat epididymal development, implying that miR-200a might also target β-catenin mRNA in rat epididymis as reported by Saydam et al. in humans. The bioinformatic analysis indicated that 3' untranslated region of rat β-catenin mRNA did contain a putative binding site for miR-200a. Meanwhile, it was found that the sequence of this binding site was different from that of human β-catenin mRNA with a deletion of two adjacent nucleotides (U and C). But the results of luciferase targeting assay in HEK 293T cells and the overexpression of miR-200a in rat NRK cells demonstrated that miR-200a did target rat β-catenin mRNA and cause the suppression of its expression. All these results show that miR-200a should be involved in rat epididymal development by targeting β-catenin mRNA of rat and suppressing its expression.Read more
The beta-catenin-T-cell factor-4 (TCF-4) complex is the main control switch of cell proliferation and differentiation of normal and malignant intestinal cells. The aim of our study was to analyze the protein expression of components of the Wnt pathway in microsatellite stable (MSS) and highly unstable (MSI-H) sporadic and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) in human colorectal cancers.
Sixty seven colorectal tumors comprising of 15 sporadic MSS, 12 sporadic microsatellite instability colorectal tumors and 40 tumors from HNPCC patients, of which 20 were MSS and 20 MSI-H, were analyzed for the expression of APC, beta-catenin, and TCF-3, 4 proteins by immunohistochemistry.
We found a significant difference in cytoplasmic APC expression frequency between sporadic MSS (52%) and HNPCC tumors (78%), whereas no difference was detected between MSI-H and MSS or HNPCC tumors. All tumor groups showed a similar pattern of decreased membranous staining and increased cytoplasmic and nuclear staining for beta-catenin compared to normal cells. Moreover, the TCF-3, 4 protein expression was higher (43%) in HNPCC-associated MSS tumors compared to sporadic tumors (14%; analysis of variance (ANOVA) p < 0.05). For HNPCC tumors, the subcellular beta-catenin expression (membranous, cytoplasmic, and nuclear) correlated with the nuclear TCF-3, 4 signal in MSS tumors (Spearman correlation p < 0.0007) and MSI-H tumors (Spearman correlation p < 0.0001).
We have shown a previously unknown difference in TCF-3, 4 protein expression between sporadic and HNPCC MSS tumors. In addition, we found no difference in nuclear beta-catenin signal intensity, which may be caused by an alteration in Wnt pathway in MSS sporadic tumors by unknown mechanisms leading to lower TCF-3, 4 protein expression. This hypothesis has to be tested in future investigations.Read more