Endochondral ossification is a crucial process for longitudinal growth of bones. Differentiating chondrocytes in growth cartilage form four sequential zones of proliferation, alignment into column, hypertrophy, and substitution of chondrocytes with osteoblasts. Wnt/β-catenin signaling is essential for differentiation of proliferating chondrocytes into hypertrophic chondrocytes in growth cartilage. R-spondin 2 (Rspo2), a member of R-spondin family, is an agonist for Wnt signaling, but its role in chondrocyte differentiation remains unknown. Here we report that growth cartilage of Rspo2-knockout mice shows a decreased amount of β-catenin and increased amounts collagen type II (CII) and Sox9 in the abnormally extended proliferating zone. In contrast, expression of collagen type X (CX) in the hypertrophic zone remains unchanged. Differentiating chondrogenic ATDC5 cells, mimicking proliferating chondrocytes, upregulate Rspo2 and its putative receptor, Lgr5, in parallel. Addition of recombinant human Rspo2 to differentiating ATDC5 cells decreases expressions of Col2a1, Sox9, and Acan, as well as production of proteoglycans. In contrast, lentivirus-mediated knockdown of Rspo2 has the opposite effect. The effect of Rspo2 on chondrogenic differentiation is mediated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling, and not by Wnt/PCP or Wnt/Ca(2+) signaling. We propose that Rspo2 activates Wnt/β-catenin signaling to reduce Col2a1 and Sox9 and to facilitate differentiation of proliferating chondrocytes into hypertrophic chondrocytes in growth cartilage.Read more
Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is a major cell wall component and virulence factor of gram-positive bacteria. The present study investigated the LTA‑induced inflammatory response of BEAS‑2B human bronchial epithelial cells, and detected the expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)‑6, IL‑8, IL‑1β, tumour necrosis factor‑α and monocyte chemotactic protein‑1, the upregulation of NF‑κB, and the phosphorylation and degradation of I‑κB. During the LTA‑induced inflammatory response of the BEAS‑2B human bronchial epithelial cells, the activity levels of the β‑catenin‑dependent promoter, and the protein expression levels of β‑catenin were significantly upregulated, whereas β‑catenin phosphorylation and the expression levels of AXIN were significantly downregulated. Following knockdown of β‑catenin by small interfering (si)RNA transfection, both the LTA-induced protein expression levels of NF‑κB and the LTA-induced activity levels of the NF‑κB‑dependent promoter were significantly reduced. Similarly, a marked reduction in I‑κB phosphorylation and degradation was observed following β‑catenin knockdown. The expression levels of the LTA‑induced proinflammatory cytokines were also significantly reduced following β‑catenin siRNA. These results suggest that β‑catenin has a significant role in the regulation of NF‑κB activity and proinflammatory cytokine expression during the LTA-induced inflammatory response of bronchial epithelial cells.Read more
Osteoblast differentiation is a multistep process delicately regulated by many factors, including cytoskeletal dynamics and signaling pathways. Microtubule actin crosslinking factor 1 (MACF1), a key cytoskeletal linker, has been shown to play key roles in signal transduction and in diverse cellular processes; however, its role in regulating osteoblast differentiation is still needed to be elucidated. To further uncover the functions and mechanisms of action of MACF1 in osteoblast differentiation, we examined effects of MACF1 knockdown (MACF1-KD) in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells on their osteoblast differentiation and associated molecular mechanisms. The results showed that knockdown of MACF1 significantly suppressed mineralization of MC3T3-E1 cells, down-regulated the expression of key osteogenic genes alkaline phosphatase (ALP), runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and type I collagen α1 (Col Iα1). Knockdown of MACF1 dramatically reduced the nuclear translocation of β-catenin, decreased the transcriptional activation of T cell factor 1 (TCF1), and down-regulated the expression of TCF1, lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 (LEF1), and Runx2, a target gene of β-catenin/TCF1. In addition, MACF1-KD increased the active level of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), which is a key regulator for β-catenin signal transduction. Moreover, the reduction of nuclear β-catenin amount and decreased expression of TCF1 and Runx2 were significantly reversed in MACF1-KD cells when treated with lithium chloride, an agonist for β-catenin by inhibiting GSK-3β activity. Taken together, these findings suggest that knockdown of MACF1 in osteoblastic cells inhibits osteoblast differentiation through suppressing the β-catenin/TCF1-Runx2 axis. Thus, a novel role of MACF1 in and a new mechanistic insight of osteoblast differentiation are uncovered.Read more
microRNA-142 (miR-142) is an important regulator of many biological processes and associated signaling pathways during embryonic development, homeostasis and disease. The miR-142 hairpin gives rise to the "guide strand" miR-142-3p and the sister "passenger" strand miR-142-5p. miR-142-3p has been shown to play critical, non-redundant functions in the development of the hematopoietic lineage. We have recently reported that miR-142-3p is critical for the control of Wnt signaling in the mesenchyme of the developing lung. miR-142-5p has been proposed to control adaptive growth in cardiomyocytes postnatally and its increase is associated with extensive apoptosis and cardiac dysfunction in a murine heart failure model. Using homologous recombination, we now report the generation and validation of miR-142-null mice. miR-142-null mice show a significant decrease in th expression levels of both the 3p and 5p isoforms. The expression of Bzrap1, a gene immediately flanking miR-142 is not altered while the expression of a long non-coding RNA embedded within the miR-142 gene is decreased. miR-142-null newborn pups appear normal and are normally represented indicating absence of embryonic lethality. At embryonic day 18.5, miR-142-null lungs display increased Wnt signaling associated with the up-regulation of Apc and p300, two previously reported targets of miR-142-3p and -5p, respectively. Adult miR-142-null animals display impaired hematopoietic lineage formation identical to previously reported miR-142 gene trap knockdown mice. We report, for the first time, the homologous recombination-based miR-142-null mice that will be useful for the scientific community working on the diverse biological functions of miR-142.Read more
Recently, insulin signaling has been highlighted in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although the association between insulin signaling and Tau pathology has been investigated in several studies, the interaction between insulin signaling and Presenilin 1 (PS1), a key molecule of amyloid beta (Abeta) pathology, has not been elucidated so far. In this study, we demonstrated that insulin inhibited PS1 phosphorylation at serine residues (serine 353, 357) via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signal pathway and strengthened the trimeric complex of PS1/N-cadherin/beta-catenin, consequently relocalizing PS1 to the cell surface. Since our recent report suggests that PS1/N-cadherin/beta-catenin complex regulates Abeta production, it is likely that insulin signaling affects Abeta pathology by regulating PS1 localization.Read more
In hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), Wnt/β-catenin, Ras/MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways form a complex network and play important roles during HCC genesis and development. To study their relationship and the influence on cell growth, the siRNA directed against β-catenin was transfected into HCC HepG2 cells. β-catenin mRNA and protein levels were measured respectively at various times by RT-PCR and Western blot. Furthermore, HCC cell growth was measured by MTT assay. Finally, MAPK family and Akt1 protein levels were also measured by Western blot. After the transfection, β-catenin mRNA levels were markedly inhibited at 24 h and increased gradually at 48, 72 and 96 h; β-catenin protein levels decreased gradually at 24, 48 and 72 h and slightly increased at 96 h. HCC cell growth was inhibited from 24-72 h, but this inhibition decreased at 96 h. ERK1/2 (p42/p44 MAPK), JNK/SAPK, p38 MAPK, and Akt1 protein levels showed no change following transfection, while their phosphorylated protein levels showed changes. Thus, siRNA directed against β-catenin markedly decreased β-catenin gene expression and inhibited cell growth. Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway might regulate Ras/MAPK and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways through regulation of the phosphorylation state of ERK1/2, JNK/SAPK and Akt1 protein in HCC HepG2 cells. These pathways might compensate for the inhibitory effect of β-catenin, thereby affecting tumor cell growth and others downstream factors.Read more
Multiple myeloma (MM) is thrombogenic as a consequence of multiple hemostatic effects. Overexpression of β-catenin has been observed in several types of malignant tumors, including MM. However, the relationship between β-catenin expression and MM remains unclear. In the present study, RNA interference was used to inhibit β-catenin expression in RPMI8226 cells. RT-PCR and Western blotting analyses showed that β-catenin mRNA and protein expression were markedly down-regulated by CTNNB1 shRNA. Western blotting showed that the protein levels of cyclin D1 and glutamine synthetase were downregulated and supported the transcriptional regulatory function of β-catenin. The MTT assay showed that CTNNB1 shRNA could have significant inhibitory effects on the proliferation of RPMI8226 cells. The TOPflash reporter assay demonstrated significant downregulation after CTNNB1 shRNA transfection in RPMI8226 cells. Flow cytometric analyses also showed significantly profound apoptosis in CTNNB1 shRNA cells. We found CTNNB1 silence led to growth inhibition of MM growth in vivo. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that c-myc and β-catenin were reduced in CTNNB1 shRNA tumor tissues, but that expression of cleaved caspase-3 was increased. These results show that β-catenin could be a new therapeutic agent that targets the biology of MM cells.Read more
The primitive neuroectodermal tumours of central nervous system (CNS-PNET) are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, occurring in the CNS and composed of undifferentiated or poorly differentiated neuroepithelial cells which may display divergent differentiation along neuronal, astrocytic and ependymal lines. The WHO classification includes in this group of tumours also ependymoblastomas and medulloepitheliomas. Several groups have reported examples of CNS-PNET with combined histological features of ependymoblastoma and neuroblastoma, defined as 'embryonal tumour with abundant neuropil and true rosettes'. The presence of the amplification of chromosome region 19q13.42, common in both ependymoblastoma and embryonal tumour with abundant neuropil and true rosettes, suggests that they represent a histological spectrum of a single biological entity.
We examined 24 cases of ependymoblastoma/embryonal tumour with abundant neuropil and true rosettes (EPBL/ETANTR) for the presence of mutations of TP53 and β-Catenin and for amplification of c-myc/N-myc.
The single strand conformation polymorphism-mutational screening did not identify any mutation in exons 5 to 8 of the TP53 gene. However, we found a point mutation affecting codon 34 (GGA → GTA) of β-Catenin gene resulting in a Glycine → Valine substitution. No cases presented c-myc/N-myc amplification.
EPBL/ETANTRs show molecular features different from other CNS-PNET and medulloblastomas. The presence of alterations in the β-Catenin/WNT pathway seems to be noteworthy due to the close relationship between this pathway and miR-520g encoded in chromosome 19q13.42 region amplified in these tumours.Read more
In the epidermis of mice lacking transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activity, primary hair follicle (HF) pre-placode formation is initiated without progression to proper placodes. NF-κB modulates WNT and SHH signaling at early stages of HF development, but this does not fully account for the phenotypes observed upon NF-κB inhibition. To identify additional NF-κB target genes, we developed a novel method to isolate and transcriptionally profile primary HF placodes with active NF-κB signaling. In parallel, we compared gene expression at the same developmental stage in NF-κB-deficient embryos and controls. This uncovered novel NF-κB target genes with potential roles in priming HF placodes for down-growth. Importantly, we identify Lhx2 (encoding a LIM/homeobox transcription factor) as a direct NF-κB target gene, loss of which replicates a subset of phenotypes seen in NF-κB-deficient embryos. Lhx2 and Tgfb2 knockout embryos exhibit very similar abnormalities in HF development, including failure of the E-cadherin suppression required for follicle down-growth. We show that TGFβ2 signaling is impaired in NF-κB-deficient and Lhx2 knockout embryos and that exogenous TGFβ2 rescues the HF phenotypes in Lhx2 knockout skin explants, indicating that it operates downstream of LHX2. These findings identify a novel NF-κB/LHX2/TGFβ2 signaling axis that is crucial for primary HF morphogenesis, which may also function more broadly in development and disease.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