Gene Summary

Gene:TCF4; transcription factor 4
Aliases: E2-2, ITF2, PTHS, SEF2, FECD3, ITF-2, SEF-2, TCF-4, SEF2-1, SEF2-1A, SEF2-1B, SEF2-1D, bHLHb19
Summary:This gene encodes transcription factor 4, a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor. The encoded protein recognizes an Ephrussi-box ('E-box') binding site ('CANNTG') - a motif first identified in immunoglobulin enhancers. This gene is broadly expressed, and may play an important role in nervous system development. Defects in this gene are a cause of Pitt-Hopkins syndrome. In addition, an intronic CTG repeat normally numbering 10-37 repeat units can expand to >50 repeat units and cause Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. Multiple alternatively spliced transcript variants that encode different proteins have been described. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2016]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:transcription factor 4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (22)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Trans-Activators
  • Chromosome 18
  • Cell Proliferation
  • TCF4
  • Tumor Burden
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Base Sequence
  • Apoptosis
  • Transcription Factors
  • Promoter Regions
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Messenger RNA
  • Western Blotting
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Down-Regulation
  • Transfection
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Cancer
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Breast Cancer
  • beta Catenin
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Wnt-5a Protein
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Transcription Factor 7-Like 2 Protein
  • Protein Binding
  • TCF Transcription Factors
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • gamma Catenin
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: TCF4 (cancer-related)

Egashira I, Takahashi-Yanaga F, Nishida R, et al.
Celecoxib and 2,5-dimethylcelecoxib inhibit intestinal cancer growth by suppressing the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Cancer Sci. 2017; 108(1):108-115 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We previously reported that celecoxib, a selective COX-2 inhibitor, strongly inhibited human colon cancer cell proliferation by suppressing the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. 2,5-Dimethylcelecoxib (DM-celecoxib), a celecoxib analog that does not inhibit COX-2, has also been reported to have an antitumor effect. In the present study, we elucidated whether DM-celecoxib inhibits intestinal cancer growth, and its underlying mechanism of action. First, we compared the effect of DM-celecoxib with that of celecoxib on the human colon cancer cell lines HCT-116 and DLD-1. 2,5-Dimethylcelecoxib suppressed cell proliferation and inhibited T-cell factor 7-like 2 expression with almost the same strength as celecoxib. 2,5-Dimethylcelecoxib also inhibited the T-cell factor-dependent transcription activity and suppressed the expression of Wnt/β-catenin target gene products cyclin D1 and survivin. Subsequently, we compared the in vivo effects of celecoxib and DM-celecoxib using the Mutyh(-/-) mouse model, in which oxidative stress induces multiple intestinal carcinomas. Serum concentrations of orally administered celecoxib and DM-celecoxib elevated to the levels enough to suppress cancer cell proliferation. Repeated treatment with celecoxib and DM-celecoxib markedly reduced the number and size of the carcinomas without showing toxicity. These results suggest that the central mechanism for the anticancer effect of celecoxib derivatives is the suppression of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway but not the inhibition of COX-2, and that DM-celecoxib might be a better lead compound candidate than celecoxib for the development of novel anticancer drugs.

Rosales-Reynoso MA, Arredondo-Valdez AR, Juárez-Vázquez CI, et al.
TCF7L2 and CCND1 polymorphisms and its association with colorectal cancer in Mexican patients.
Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2016; 62(11):13-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accumulative evidence suggests that alterations due to mutations or genetic polymorphisms in the TCF7L2 and CCND1 genes, which are components of the Wnt signaling pathway, contributes to carcinogenesis. The present study was designated to clarify whether common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the transcription factor 7- like 2 (TCF7L2) and cyclin D1 (CCND1) genes are associated with colorectal cancer risk in Mexican patients. A case-control study including 197 colorectal cancer patients and 100 healthy subjects was conducted in a Mexican population. Identification of polymorphisms was made by the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism methodology. The association was calculated by the odds ratio (OR) test. The results demonstrate that patients with the T/T genotype for the rs12255372 polymorphism of the TCF7L2 gene present an increased colorectal cancer risk (OR=2.64, P=0.0236). Also, the risk analysis for Tumor-Nodule-Metastasis (TNM) stage and tumor location showed association with this polymorphism under the over-dominant model of inheritance (OR=1.75, P=0.0440). A similar relation was observed for the genotype T/T of the rs7903146 polymorphism and the rectal location of cancer (OR=7.57, P=0.0403). For the rs603965 polymorphism of the CCND1 gene, we observed a protection effect for the colon cancer location under the dominant model (OR=0.49, P=0.0477). These results reveal a significant role of the analyzed polymorphisms in the TCF7L2 and CCND1 genes on the susceptibility or protection for developing colorectal cancer in the Mexican population.

Kobayashi M, Funayama R, Ohnuma S, et al.
Wnt-β-catenin signaling regulates ABCC3 (MRP3) transporter expression in colorectal cancer.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(12):1776-1784 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We determined the gene expression profiles for 48 ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters in matched colon cancer and normal colon tissues in order to provide insight into the mechanisms underlying expression of transporters related to colon carcinogenesis. The expression of ABCB1, ABCC1, ABCC2, ABCC3, and ABCG2 was altered in association with colon carcinogenesis. Among these transporters, the expression of ABCC3 was repressed by Wnt signaling pathway in colon cancer cell lines. Knockdown of the pathway components transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) or β-catenin thus increased ABCC3 expression, whereas activation of Wnt signaling with inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) reduced it. ChIP and luciferase reporter assays also showed that TCF7L2 binds to the ABCC3 locus and regulates its expression. Finally, overexpression of ABCC3 in colon cancer cells conferred resistance to anticancer drug-induced cytotoxicity. Our data thus suggest that Wnt signaling represses ABCC3 expression during colon carcinogenesis, and that subsequent upregulation of ABCC3 expression during drug treatment might contribute to acquired drug resistance.

Luo C, Lim JH, Lee Y, et al.
A PGC1α-mediated transcriptional axis suppresses melanoma metastasis.
Nature. 2016; 537(7620):422-426 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
Melanoma is the deadliest form of commonly encountered skin cancer because of its rapid progression towards metastasis. Although metabolic reprogramming is tightly associated with tumour progression, the effect of metabolic regulatory circuits on metastatic processes is poorly understood. PGC1α is a transcriptional coactivator that promotes mitochondrial biogenesis, protects against oxidative stress and reprograms melanoma metabolism to influence drug sensitivity and survival. Here, we provide data indicating that PGC1α suppresses melanoma metastasis, acting through a pathway distinct from that of its bioenergetic functions. Elevated PGC1α expression inversely correlates with vertical growth in human melanoma specimens. PGC1α silencing makes poorly metastatic melanoma cells highly invasive and, conversely, PGC1α reconstitution suppresses metastasis. Within populations of melanoma cells, there is a marked heterogeneity in PGC1α levels, which predicts their inherent high or low metastatic capacity. Mechanistically, PGC1α directly increases transcription of ID2, which in turn binds to and inactivates the transcription factor TCF4. Inactive TCF4 causes downregulation of metastasis-related genes, including integrins that are known to influence invasion and metastasis. Inhibition of BRAF(V600E) using vemurafenib, independently of its cytostatic effects, suppresses metastasis by acting on the PGC1α-ID2-TCF4-integrin axis. Together, our findings reveal that PGC1α maintains mitochondrial energetic metabolism and suppresses metastasis through direct regulation of parallel acting transcriptional programs. Consequently, components of these circuits define new therapeutic opportunities that may help to curb melanoma metastasis.

Zhuang K, Yan Y, Zhang X, et al.
Gastrin promotes the metastasis of gastric carcinoma through the β-catenin/TCF-4 pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(3):1369-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer is the most common epithelial malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide; metastasis is a crucial factor in the progression of gastric cancer. The present study applied gastrin-17 amide (G-17) in SGC7901 cells. The results showed that G-17 promoted the cell cycle by accelerating the G0/G1 phase and by increasing the cell proliferation rate by binding to the gastrin receptor. The migratory and invasive abilities of the SGC7901 cells were increased by G-17. The expression levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-7, MMP-9 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were enhanced by G-17 as well. Moreover, G-17 caused the overexpression of β-catenin and TCF-4. G-17 also caused a preferential cytoplasmic and nuclear localization of β-catenin with a high TOP-FLASH activity. Finally, axin reduced the migratory and invasive abilities of the SGC7901 cells, and inhibited the expression of β-catenin, TCF-4, MMP-7, MMP-9 and VEGF; these effects were counteracted by adding G-17. In summary, the present study confirmed the proliferation and metastasis-promoting role of G-17 via binding to the gastrin receptor, and the β-catenin/TCF-4 pathway was found to be essential for mediating G-17-induced metastasis in gastric cancer. These results may provide a novel gene target for the treatment of gastric cancer.

Chen Y, Pan K, Wang P, et al.
HBP1-mediated Regulation of p21 Protein through the Mdm2/p53 and TCF4/EZH2 Pathways and Its Impact on Cell Senescence and Tumorigenesis.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(24):12688-705 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
The activity of the CDK inhibitor p21 is associated with diverse biological activities, including cell proliferation, senescence, and tumorigenesis. However, the mechanisms governing transcription of p21 need to be extensively studied. In this study, we demonstrate that the high-mobility group box-containing protein 1 (HBP1) transcription factor is a novel activator of p21 that works as part of a complex mechanism during senescence and tumorigenesis. We found that HBP1 activates the p21 gene through enhancing p53 stability by inhibiting Mdm2-mediated ubiquitination of p53, a well known positive regulator of p21. HBP1 was also found to enhance p21 transcription by inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We identified histone methyltransferase EZH2, the catalytic subunit of polycomb repressive complex 2, as a target of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. HBP1-mediated repression of EZH2 through Wnt/β-catenin signaling decreased the level of trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 of overall and specific histone on the p21 promoter, resulting in p21 transactivation. Although intricate, the reciprocal partnership of HBP1 and p21 has exceptional importance. HBP1-mediated elevation of p21 through the Mdm2/p53 and TCF4/EZH2 pathways contributes to both cellular senescence and tumor inhibition. Together, our results suggest that the HBP1 transcription factor orchestrates a complex regulation of key genes during cellular senescence and tumorigenesis with an impact on protein ubiquitination and overall histone methylation state.

Feng L, Xie Y, Zhao Z, Lian W
LMX1A inhibits metastasis of gastric cancer cells through negative regulation of β-catenin.
Cell Biol Toxicol. 2016; 32(2):133-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previously, we reported that the LIM homeobox transcription factor 1, alpha (LMX1A) presented tumor-suppressing roles in gastric AGS cells. Here, we showed that LMX1A also inhibits metastasis-related behaviors including migration and invasion of gastric cancer cells. Mechanistic study revealed that the role of LMX1A was mediated by β-catenin, as knockdown of LMX1A upregulated the expression of β-catenin and knockdown of β-catenin reversed the effects of LMX1A silencing. β-catenin is essential for the activation of WNT signaling pathway. Indeed, knockdown of LMX1A activated the expressions of WNT signaling target genes T cell-specific transcription factor 4 (TCF4) and matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP7). What is more, the expression of LMX1A was negatively correlated with WNT signaling target genes in two datasets of human gastric cancer tissues. Thus, our study revealed an anti-metastatic role of LMX1A in gastric cancer which is mediated by the negative regulation of β-catenin signaling target genes.

Zhang Q, Gao M, Luo G, et al.
Enhancement of Radiation Sensitivity in Lung Cancer Cells by a Novel Small Molecule Inhibitor That Targets the β-Catenin/Tcf4 Interaction.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0152407 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
Radiation therapy is an important treatment choice for unresectable advanced human lung cancers, and a critical adjuvant treatment for surgery. However, radiation as a lung cancer treatment remains far from satisfactory due to problems associated with radiation resistance in cancer cells and severe cytotoxicity to non-cancer cells, which arise at doses typically administered to patients. We have recently identified a promising novel inhibitor of β-catenin/Tcf4 interaction, named BC-23 (C21H14ClN3O4S), which acts as a potent cell death enhancer when used in combination with radiation. Sequential exposure of human p53-null non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) H1299 cells to low doses of x-ray radiation, followed 1 hour later by administration of minimally cytotoxic concentrations of BC-23, resulted in a highly synergistic induction of clonogenic cell death (combination index <1.0). Co-treatment with BC-23 at low concentrations effectively inhibits Wnt/β-catenin signaling and down-regulates c-Myc and cyclin D1 expression. S phase arrest and ROS generation are also involved in the enhancement of radiation effectiveness mediated by BC-23. BC-23 therefore represents a promising new class of radiation enhancer.

Savio AJ, Daftary D, Dicks E, et al.
Promoter methylation of ITF2, but not APC, is associated with microsatellite instability in two populations of colorectal cancer patients.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:113 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant Wnt signaling activation occurs commonly in colorectal carcinogenesis, leading to upregulation of many target genes. APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) is an important component of the β-catenin destruction complex, which regulates Wnt signaling, and is often mutated in colorectal cancer (CRC). In addition to mutational events, epigenetic changes arise frequently in CRC, specifically, promoter hypermethylation which silences tumor suppressor genes. APC and the Wnt signaling target gene ITF2 (immunoglobulin transcription factor 2) incur hypermethylation in various cancers, however, methylation-dependent regulation of these genes in CRC has not been studied in large, well-characterized patient cohorts. The microsatellite instability (MSI) subtype of CRC, featuring DNA mismatch repair deficiency and often promoter hypermethylation of MutL homolog 1 (MLH1), has a favorable outcome and is characterized by different chemotherapeutic responses than microsatellite stable (MSS) tumors. Other epigenetic events distinguishing these subtypes have not yet been fully elucidated.
METHODS: Here, we quantify promoter methylation of ITF2 and APC by MethyLight in two case-case studies nested in population-based CRC cohorts from the Ontario Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry (n = 330) and the Newfoundland Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry (n = 102) comparing MSI status groups.
RESULTS: ITF2 and APC methylation are significantly associated with tumor versus normal state (both P < 1.0 × 10(-6)). ITF2 is methylated in 45.8% of MSI cases and 26.9% of MSS cases and is significantly associated with MSI in Ontario (P = 0.002) and Newfoundland (P = 0.005) as well as the MSI-associated feature of MLH1 promoter hypermethylation (P = 6.72 × 10(-4)). APC methylation, although tumor-specific, does not show a significant association with tumor subtype, age, gender, or stage, indicating it is a general tumor-specific CRC biomarker.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates, for the first time, MSI-associated ITF2 methylation, and further reveals the subtype-specific epigenetic events modulating Wnt signaling in CRC.

Lv YF, Dai H, Yan GN, et al.
Downregulation of tumor suppressing STF cDNA 3 promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition and tumor metastasis of osteosarcoma by the Wnt/GSK-3β/β-catenin/Snail signaling pathway.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 373(2):164-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) has received considerable attention as a conceptual paradigm for explaining the invasive and metastatic behavior of cells during cancer progression. Our previous study showed that loss of expression of TSSC3 is positively associated with osteosarcoma malignancy and progression. However, whether TSSC3 mediates EMT in osteosarcoma is poorly understood. In the present study, we determined that TSSC3 downregulation induced cell migration and invasion ability and promoted mesenchymal transition of osteosarcoma cells by upregulating mesenchymal markers and inhibiting the epithelial markers. Furthermore, TSSC3 downregulation elicited a signaling cascade that included increased levels of Wnt3a and LRP5, inactivation of GSK-3β, accumulation of nuclear β-catenin and Snail, the augmented binding of β-catenin to TCF-4, and accordingly increased the expression of Wnt target genes (CD44, MMP7). The gene knockdown of these signaling proteins could inhibit TSSC3 downregulation-promoted EMT, migration, and invasion in osteosarcoma. Finally, TSSC3 overexpression obviously inhibited cell migration, invasion, and repressed mesenchymal phenotypes, reducing lung metastasis through GSK-3β activation. Collectively, TSSC3 downregulation promotes the EMT of osteosarcoma cells by regulating EMT markers via a signal transduction pathway that involves Snail, Wnt-β-catenin/TCF, and GSK-3β.

Inoue H, Takahashi H, Hashimura M, et al.
Cooperation of Sox4 with β-catenin/p300 complex in transcriptional regulation of the Slug gene during divergent sarcomatous differentiation in uterine carcinosarcoma.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:53 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Uterine carcinosarcoma (UCS) represents a true example of cancer associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which exhibits cancer stem cell (CSC)-like traits. Both Sox and β-catenin signal transductions play key roles in the regulation of EMT/CSC properties, but little is known about their involvement in UCS tumorigenesis. Herein, we focused on the functional roles of the Sox/β-catenin pathway in UCSs.
METHODS: EMT/CSC tests and transfection experiments were carried out using three endometrial carcinoma (Em Ca) cell lines. Immunohistochemical investigation was also applied for a total of 32 UCSs.
RESULTS: Em Ca cells cultured in STK2, a serum-free medium for mesenchymal stem cells, underwent changes in morphology toward an EMT appearance through downregulation of E-cadherin, along with upregulation of Slug, known as a target gene of β-catenin. The cells also showed CSC properties with an increase in the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) 1(high) activity population and spheroid formation, as well as upregulation of Sox4, Sox7, and Sox9. Of these Sox factors, overexpression of Sox4 dramatically led to transactivation of the Slug promoter, and the effects were further enhanced by cotransfection of Sox7 or Sox9. Sox4 was also able to promote β-catenin-mediated transcription of the Slug gene through formation of transcriptional complexes with β-catenin and p300, independent of TCF4 status. In clinical samples, both nuclear β-catenin and Slug scores were significantly higher in the sarcomatous elements as compared to carcinomatous components in UCSs, and were positively correlated with Sox4, Sox7, and Sox9 scores.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggested that Sox4, as well as Sox7 and Sox9, may contribute to regulation of EMT/CSC properties to promote development of sarcomatous components in UCSs through transcriptional regulation of the Slug gene by cooperating with the β-catenin/p300 signal pathway.

Bouillez A, Rajabi H, Pitroda S, et al.
Inhibition of MUC1-C Suppresses MYC Expression and Attenuates Malignant Growth in KRAS Mutant Lung Adenocarcinomas.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(6):1538-48 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
Dysregulation of MYC expression is a hallmark of cancer, but the development of agents that target MYC has remained challenging. The oncogenic MUC1-C transmembrane protein is, like MYC, aberrantly expressed in diverse human cancers. The present studies demonstrate that MUC1-C induces MYC expression in KRAS mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, an effect that can be suppressed by targeting MUC1-C via shRNA silencing, CRISPR editing, or pharmacologic inhibition with GO-203. MUC1-C activated the WNT/β-catenin (CTNNB1) pathway and promoted occupancy of MUC1-C/β-catenin/TCF4 complexes on the MYC promoter. MUC1-C also promoted the recruitment of the p300 histone acetylase (EP300) and, in turn, induced histone H3 acetylation and activation of MYC gene transcription. We also show that targeting MUC1-C decreased the expression of key MYC target genes essential for the growth and survival of NSCLC cells, such as TERT and CDK4. Based on these results, we found that the combination of GO-203 and the BET bromodomain inhibitor JQ1, which targets MYC transcription, synergistically suppressed MYC expression and cell survival in vitro as well as tumor xenograft growth. Furthermore, MUC1 expression significantly correlated with that of MYC and its target genes in human KRAS mutant NSCLC tumors. Taken together, these findings suggest a therapeutic approach for targeting MYC-dependent cancers and provide the framework for the ongoing clinical studies addressing the efficacy of MUC1-C inhibition in solid tumors.

Xie D, Xie J, Wan Y, et al.
Norcantharidin blocks Wnt/β-catenin signaling via promoter demethylation of WIF-1 in glioma.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(4):2191-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioma is one of the most common primary intracranial tumors, and the prognosis is poor even though much treatment management is employed. Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been reported to be associated with glioma. Norcantharidin (NCTD) is the demethylated analog of cantharidin isolated from blister beetles, and it is reported to possess anticancer activity but less nephrotoxicity than cantharidin. Accordingly, we aimed to investigate NCTD as an anti-neoplastic drug that inhibits the Wnt/β‑catenin pathway via promoter demethylation of Wnt inhibitory factor-1 (WIF-1) in glioma growth in vitro. In the present study, we report that NCTD inhibited cell proliferation, induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, and suppressed cell migration and invasion in vitro. Moreover, we observed that the expression levels of WIF-1 mRNA and protein in the NCTD-treated cells were increased significantly compared with these levels in the negative control (NC) cells. Promoter demethylation was observed in the NCTD‑treated cells. In contrast, aberrant methylation was observed in the NC cells. Additionally, more investigation revealed that NCTD suppressed activity of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and transcription of β-catenin/TCF-4. Furthermore, the expression of apoptosis-related proteins Bcl-2 and cleaved caspase-3 indicated significant cell apoptosis. We provide initial evidence that NCTD reactivates WIF-1 from a methylation state, and downregulates canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Our findings revealed that NCTD is effective for glioma in vitro and may be a new therapeutic option in vivo.

Ouyang W, Zhang S, Yang B, et al.
β-catenin is regulated by USP9x and mediates resistance to TRAIL-induced apoptosis in breast cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(2):717-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
To investigate the regulatory mechanisms of decoy receptor expression in TRAIL-resistant breast cancer MCF-7 cells, cytotoxicity and apoptosis assays were applied to examine sensitivity to TRAIL in breast cancer cells. Immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation were used to detect the co-localization and interaction of USP9x and β-catenin. Luciferase assay was used to examine activity of the DcR1/DcR2/OPG reporter. Overexpression/silencing of β-catenin was performed to confirm β-catenin mediated transcription of the decoy receptors. Additionally, silencing of USP9x was performed to prove that USP9X stabilizes β-catenin and mediates TRAIL-resistance. It was found that USP9x interacted with β-catenin and inhibited the degradation of β-catenin through the deubiquitination of β-catenin. Luciferase reporter assays showed induction of DcR1/DcR2/OPG reporter activity observed upon co-transfection of β-catenin and Tcf-4. The overexpression/silencing of β-catenin further confirmed the role of β-catenin in the regulation of transcription of the decoy receptors. Silencing of USP9x directly evidenced that USP9x affected the protein expression level of β-catenin, the transcription level of the decoy receptors, and reversed TRAIL-resistance of MCF-7 cells. In conclusion, USP9x interacted with and stabilized β-catenin through deubiquitination to mediate transcription of the decoy receptors in breast cancer cells. Our results offer new insights into the mechanisms of resistance to TRAIL, and USP9x could potentially be a therapeutic target for TRAIL-resistant breast cancers.

Denysenko T, Annovazzi L, Cassoni P, et al.
WNT/β-catenin Signaling Pathway and Downstream Modulators in Low- and High-grade Glioma.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2016 Jan-Feb; 13(1):31-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant activation of the canonical Wingless-type MMTV integration site family (WNT)/β-catenin signaling pathway is critical for gliomas.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 74 gliomas of different histological grade and in 24 glioblastoma cell lines, protein expression of WNT member 3a (WNT3a), β-catenin and transcription factor 4 (TCF4) was investigated by immunohistochemistry, western blotting, immunofluorescence and immunocytochemistry. In tumors and cell lines, WNT3A expression was assessed at the mRNA level by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: WNT3a was overexpressed at the protein and mRNA levels in malignant astrocytic tumors and cell lines. Cytoplasmic expression of β-catenin was detected in high-grade gliomas and cell lines, with evidence of nuclear translocation on fractionated protein extracts. Activating mutations in the β-catenin encoding gene (CTNNB1) were excluded by direct sequencing. TCF4 was statistically correlated with Ki-67/MIB-1 and cyclin D1 labeling indices.
CONCLUSION: Expression of WNT3a, cytoplasmic β-catenin and TCF4 was significantly associated with the histological malignancy grade and with a worse prognosis for patients with glioma.

Jiang Q, He M, Ma MT, et al.
MicroRNA-148a inhibits breast cancer migration and invasion by directly targeting WNT-1.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(3):1425-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway influences embryonic development, cell polarity and adhesion, apoptosis and tumorigenesis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) function as important regulators of the tumorigenesis and metastasis. In the present study, we aimed to find novel targets and mechanisms of microRNA-148a (miR-148a) in regulating the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. In the present study, miR-148a was found downregulated in human breast cancer tissues and cell lines. The ectopic miR-148a expression inhibited the migration and invasion of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that WNT-1, one of the ligands of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, was a direct target of miR-148a. The overexpression of miR-148a reduced the mRNA and protein expression levels of WNT-1, also decreased the expression levels of the key components of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, including β-catenin, metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) and T-cell factor-4 (TCF-4) in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. In addition, the data showed that the expression of WNT-1 was significantly higher in human breast cancer tissues compared with the adjacent normal tissues and the expression of miR-148a was negatively correlated with the WNT-1 expression in human breast cancer tissues. Taken together, our results suggest that miR-148a can suppress the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells by targeting WNT-1 and inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and this will provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis.

Fang L, Zhu Q, Neuenschwander M, et al.
A Small-Molecule Antagonist of the β-Catenin/TCF4 Interaction Blocks the Self-Renewal of Cancer Stem Cells and Suppresses Tumorigenesis.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(4):891-901 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling is a highly conserved pathway essential for embryogenesis and tissue homeostasis. However, deregulation of this pathway can initiate and promote human malignancies, especially of the colon and head and neck. Therefore, Wnt/β-catenin signaling represents an attractive target for cancer therapy. We performed high-throughput screening using AlphaScreen and ELISA techniques to identify small molecules that disrupt the critical interaction between β-catenin and the transcription factor TCF4 required for signal transduction. We found that compound LF3, a 4-thioureido-benzenesulfonamide derivative, robustly inhibited this interaction. Biochemical assays revealed clues that the core structure of LF3 was essential for inhibition. LF3 inhibited Wnt/β-catenin signals in cells with exogenous reporters and in colon cancer cells with endogenously high Wnt activity. LF3 also suppressed features of cancer cells related to Wnt signaling, including high cell motility, cell-cycle progression, and the overexpression of Wnt target genes. However, LF3 did not cause cell death or interfere with cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion. Remarkably, the self-renewal capacity of cancer stem cells was blocked by LF3 in concentration-dependent manners, as examined by sphere formation of colon and head and neck cancer stem cells under nonadherent conditions. Finally, LF3 reduced tumor growth and induced differentiation in a mouse xenograft model of colon cancer. Collectively, our results strongly suggest that LF3 is a specific inhibitor of canonical Wnt signaling with anticancer activity that warrants further development for preclinical and clinical studies as a novel cancer therapy.

Ye GD, Sun GB, Jiao P, et al.
OVOL2, an Inhibitor of WNT Signaling, Reduces Invasive Activities of Human and Mouse Cancer Cells and Is Down-regulated in Human Colorectal Tumors.
Gastroenterology. 2016; 150(3):659-671.e16 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Activation of WNT signaling promotes the invasive activities of several types of cancer cells, but it is not clear if it regulates the same processes in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, or what mechanisms are involved. We studied the expression and function of OVOL2, a member of the Ovo family of conserved zinc-finger transcription factors regulated by the WNT signaling pathway, in intestinal tumors of mice and human beings.
METHODS: We analyzed the expression of OVOL2 protein and messenger RNA in CRC cell lines and tissue arrays, as well as CRC samples from patients who underwent surgery at Xiamen University in China from 2009 to 2012; clinical information also was collected. CRC cell lines (SW620) were infected with lentivirus expressing OVOL2, analyzed in migration and invasion assays, and injected into nude mice to assess tumor growth and metastasis. Tandem affinity purification was used to purify the OVOL2-containing complex from CRC cells; the complex was analyzed by liquid chromatography, tandem mass spectrometry, and immunoprecipitation experiments. Gene promoter activities were measured in luciferase reporter assays. We analyzed mice with an intestine-specific disruption of Ovol2 (Ovol2(flox/+) transgenic mice), as well as Apc(min/+) mice; these mice were crossed and analyzed.
RESULTS: Analysis of data from patients indicated that the levels of OVOL2 messenger RNA were significantly lower in colon carcinomas than adenomas, and decreased significantly as carcinomas progressed from grades 2 to 4. Immunohistochemical analysis of a tissue array of 275 CRC samples showed a negative association between tumor stage and OVOL2 level. Overexpression of OVOL2 in SW620 cells decreased their migration and invasion, reduced markers of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and suppressed their metastasis as xenograft tumors in nude mice; knockdown of OVOL2 caused LS174T cells to transition from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotypes. OVOL2 bound T-cell factor (TCF)4 and β-catenin, facilitating recruitment of histone deacetylase 1 to the TCF4-β-catenin complex; this inhibited expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-related genes regulated by WNT, such as SLUG, in CRC cell lines. OVOL2 was a downstream target of WNT signaling in LS174T and SW480 cells. The OVOL2 promoter was hypermethylated in late-stage CRC specimens from patients and in SW620 cells; hypermethylation resulted in OVOL2 down-regulation and an inability to inhibit WNT signaling. Disruption of Ovol2 in Apc(min/+) mice increased WNT activity in intestinal tissues and the formation of invasive intestinal tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: OVOL2 is a colorectal tumor suppressor that blocks WNT signaling by facilitating the recruitment of histone deacetylase 1 to the TCF4-β-catenin complex. Strategies to increase levels of OVOL2 might be developed to reduce colorectal tumor progression and metastasis.

Jiang Q, He M, Guan S, et al.
MicroRNA-100 suppresses the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells by targeting FZD-8 and inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):5001-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a major role in the cancer metastasis. Several microRNAs (miRNAs) are contributed to the inhibition of breast cancer metastasis. Here, we attempted to find novel targets and mechanisms of microRNA-100 (miR-100) in regulating the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. In this study, we found that miR-100 expression was downregulated in human breast cancer tissues and cell lines. The overexpression of miR-100 inhibited the migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Inversely, the downregulation of miR-100 increased the migration and invasion of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Furthermore, FZD-8, a receptor of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, was demonstrated a direct target of miR-100. The overexpression of miR-100 decreased the expression levels not only FZD-8 but also the key components of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, including β-catenin, metalloproteniase-7 (MMP-7), T-cell factor-4 (TCF-4), and lymphoid enhancing factor-1 (LEF-1), and increased the protein expression levels of GSK-3β and p-GSK-3β in MDA-MB-231 cells, and the transfection of miR-100 inhibitor in MCF-7 cells showed the opposite effects. In addition, the expression of miR-100 was negatively correlated with the FZD-8 expression in human breast cancer tissues. Overall, these findings suggest that miR-100 suppresses the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells by targeting FZD-8 and inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and manipulation of miR-100 may provide a promoting therapeutic strategy for cancer breast treatment.

Gammoh E, Mahmood NA, Madan S, et al.
Transcription Factor-7-Like 2 Gene Variants Affect the Metabolic Phenotypes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Ann Nutr Metab. 2015; 67(4):228-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrinopathy, which shares genetic features with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Insofar as transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) is consistently replicated T2DM susceptibility locus, this study evaluates whether common TCF7L2 variants are associated with PCOS and related metabolic features.
METHODS: The association between TCF7L2 rs4506565, rs7903146, rs12243326, and rs12255372 SNPs and PCOS was tested in 242 women with PCOS and in 236 control women.
RESULTS: The allelic distribution of rs4506565, rs7903146, rs12243326, and rs12255372 TCF7L2 variants was not significantly different between women with PCOS and control women. The genotype distribution of the 4 TCF7L2 loci was comparable between PCOS cases and controls, irrespective of the genetic analysis model used (additive, dominant, recessive). Carriage of rs4506565 minor allele correlated with free insulin and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, while the presence of rs12243326 and rs12255372 minor allele correlated with waist changes. Four-locus (rs4506565-rs7903146, rs12243326, and rs12255372) haplotype analysis identified PCOS-susceptible (ACTG) and -protective (TTTG) haplotypes, which remained significant after controlling for multiple comparisons and for key covariates.
CONCLUSIONS: Although individual TCF7L2 variants were not associated with the presence of PCOS in Bahraini women, specific TCF7L2 haplotypes were identified, which were both positively and negatively associated with PCOS.

Pai P, Rachagani S, Lakshmanan I, et al.
The canonical Wnt pathway regulates the metastasis-promoting mucin MUC4 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
Mol Oncol. 2016; 10(2):224-39 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
Aberrant Wnt signaling frequently occurs in pancreatic cancer (PC) and contributes to disease progression/metastases. Likewise, the transmembrane-mucin MUC4 is expressed de novo in early pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs) and incrementally increases with PC progression, contributing to metastasis. To determine the mechanism of MUC4 upregulation in PC, we examined factors deregulated in early PC progression, such as Wnt/β-catenin signaling. MUC4 promoter analysis revealed the presence of three putative TCF/LEF-binding sites, leading us to hypothesize that MUC4 can be regulated by β-catenin. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of rapid autopsy PC tissues showed a correlation between MUC4 and cytosolic/nuclear β-catenin expression. Knock down (KD) of β-catenin in CD18/HPAF and T3M4 cell lines resulted in decreased MUC4 transcript and protein. Three MUC4 promoter luciferase constructs, p3778, p3000, and p2700, were generated. The construct p3778, encompassing the entire MUC4 promoter, elicited increased luciferase activity in the presence of stabilized β-catenin. Mutation of the TCF/LEF site closest to the transcription start site (i.e., -2629/-2612) and furthest from the start site (i.e., -3425/-3408) reduced MUC4 promoter luciferase activity. Transfection with dominant negative TCF4 decreased MUC4 transcript and protein levels. Chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed enrichment of β-catenin on -2629/-2612 and -3425/-3408 of the MUC4 promoter in CD18/HPAF. Functionally, CD18/HPAF and T3M4 β-catenin KD cells showed decreased migration and decreased Vimentin, N-cadherin, and pERK1/2 expression. Tumorigenicity studies in athymic nude mice showed CD18/HPAF β-catenin KD cells significantly reduced primary tumor sizes and metastases compared to scrambled control cells. We show for the first time that β-catenin directly governs MUC4 in PC.

O'Connell MR, Sarkar S, Luthra GK, et al.
Epigenetic changes and alternate promoter usage by human colon cancers for expressing DCLK1-isoforms: Clinical Implications.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:14983 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
DCLK1 specifically marks colon/pancreatic cancers in mice, and is expressed by human colon adenocarcinomas (hCRCs). Down-regulation of DCLK1 results in loss of cancer-stem-cells (CSCs), and inhibits spheroidal/xenograft growths from hCRC-cells. The 5'-promoter of DCLK1-gene is reportedly hypermethylated in hCRCs, resulting in loss of expression of DCLK1-transcripts, originating from 5'(α)-promoter (termed DCLK1-L, in here). However, in mouse colon-tumors, 5'-promoter of DCLK1-gene remains unchanged, and DCLK1-L, originating from 5'(α)-promoter, is expressed. We hypothesized that elevated levels of DCLK1-protein in hCRC-cells, may be transcribed/translated from an alternate-promoter. Several in silico and molecular biology approaches were used to test our hypothesis. We report for the first time that majority of hCRCs express short-transcripts of DCLK1 (termed DCLK1-S, in here) from an alternate β-promoter in IntronV of the gene, while normal-colons mainly express DCLK1-L from 5'(α)-promoter. We additionally report an important role of β-catenin and TCF4/LEF binding-sites for activating (α)-promoter, while activated NF-κBp65 (bound to NF-κB-cis-element), activates (β)-promoter in cancer-cells. DCLK1-S expression was examined in a cohort of 92 CRC patients; high-expressors had significantly worse overall-survival compared to low-expressors. Our novel findings' regarding usage of alternate (β)-promoter by hCRCs, suggests that DCLK1-S may represent an important target for preventing/inhibiting colon-cancers, and for eliminating colon-CSCs.

Nagoshi H, Taki T, Chinen Y, et al.
Transcriptional dysregulation of the deleted in colorectal carcinoma gene in multiple myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2015; 54(12):788-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
The deleted in colorectal carcinoma (DCC) gene at 18q21 encodes a netrin-1 receptor, a tumor suppressor that prevents cell growth. While allele loss or decreased expression of DCC has been associated with the progression of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, including leukemias and malignant lymphomas, its involvement has not been evaluated in multiple myeloma (MM), a plasma cell malignancy characterized by complex and heterogenous molecular abnormalities. We here show that 10 of 11 human myeloma-derived cell lines (HMCLs) expressed non-translated aberrant DCC transcriptional variants, in which exon 2 fuses with intron 1 instead of exon 1 (mt.DCC). Among them, two co-expressed wild type transcripts (wt.DCC), while eight co-expressed the splicing variant (sv.DCC) lacking exon 1. The remaining HMCL expressed only sv.DCC. In addition, analyses revealed that there were two types of mt.DCC that differed in their fusion of intron 1 with exon 2. In patient-derived samples from 30 MM and 8 monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) patients, wt.DCC was expressed in 53% of MM, but not in MGUS, while 23% of MM and 75% of MGUS expressed only sv.DCC. Considering that 25% of MGUS, 57% of MM, and 91% HMCLs expressed mt.DCC, our results suggest that the acquisition of mt.DCC might be a secondary genetic change in plasma cell dyscrasia.

Sánchez-Tilló E, de Barrios O, Valls E, et al.
ZEB1 and TCF4 reciprocally modulate their transcriptional activities to regulate Wnt target gene expression.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(46):5760-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
The canonical Wnt pathway (TCF4/β-catenin) has important roles during normal differentiation and in disease. Some Wnt functions depend on signaling gradients requiring the pathway to be tightly regulated. A key Wnt target is the transcription factor ZEB1 whose expression by cancer cells promotes tumor invasiveness by repressing the expression of epithelial specification markers and activating mesenchymal genes, including a number of Wnt targets such as LAMC2 and uPA. The ability of ZEB1 to activate/repress its target genes depends on its recruitment of corepressors (CtBP, BRG1) or coactivators (p300) although conditions under which ZEB1 binds these cofactors are not elucidated. Here, we show that TCF4 and ZEB1 reciprocally modulate each other's transcriptional activity: ZEB1 enhances TCF4/β-catenin-mediated transcription and, in turn, Wnt signaling switches ZEB1 from a repressor into an activator. In colorectal cancer (CRC) cells with active Wnt signaling, ZEB1 enhances transcriptional activation of LAMC2 and uPA by TCF4/β-catenin. However, in CRC cells with inactive Wnt, ZEB1 represses both genes. Reciprocal modulation of ZEB1 and TCF4 activities involves their binding to DNA and mutual interaction. Wnt signaling turns ZEB1 into an activator by replacing binding of CtBP/BRG1 in favor of p300. Using a mouse model of Wnt-induced intestinal tumorigenesis, we found that downregulation of ZEB1 reduces the expression of LAMC2 in vivo. These results identify a mechanism through which Wnt and ZEB1 transcriptional activities are modulated, offering new approaches in cancer therapy.

Wang J, Gong L, Zhu SJ, et al.
The Human Homolog of Drosophila Headcase Acts as a Tumor Suppressor through Its Blocking Effect on the Cell Cycle in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(9):e0137579 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
The molecular pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is heterogeneous and extremely complex. Thus, for individual molecular targeted therapy, novel molecular markers are needed. The abnormal expression of the human homolog of Drosophila headcase (HECA homo) has been found in pancreatic, colorectal, and oral squamous cell carcinoma. Studies of oral squamous cell carcinoma have also demonstrated that the HECA homo protein can be negatively controlled by the Wnt-pathway and transcription factor 4 (TCF4) and can slow cell division by interacting with cyclins and CDKs. However, the role of HECA in HCC has not been reported elsewhere. Here, immunohistochemical analysis revealed that the downregulation of HECA homo protein occurred in 71.0% (66/93) of HCC cases and was positively correlated with a poorly differentiated grade, high serum AFP level, liver cirrhosis and large tumor size. The expression of HECA homo was detected in five live cell lines. In vitro, the overexpression of HECA homo in HepG2, Huh-7 and MHCC-97H cells could inhibit cell proliferation and colony formation and induce G1 phase arrest. In contrast, the downregulation of HECA homo could promote cell proliferation, colony formation and the cell cycle process. However, neither the overexpression nor downregulation of HECA homo in the three cell lines could affect cell migration or invasion. Collectively, HECA homo is regularly expressed in normal live cells, and the HECA homo protein level is heterogeneously altered in HCC, but the downregulation of HECA homo is more common and positively correlated with several malignant phenotypes. The HECA homo protein can slow cell proliferation to some extent primarily through its blocking effect on the cell cycle. Hence, the HECA homo protein may act as a tumor suppressor in HCC and might be a potential molecular marker for diagnostic classification and targeted therapy in HCC.

Salim H, Zong D, Hååg P, et al.
DKK1 is a potential novel mediator of cisplatin-refractoriness in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:628 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Platinum compounds are the mainstay of chemotherapy for lung cancer. Unfortunately treatment failure remains a critical issue since about 60% of all non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients display intrinsic platinum resistance.
METHODS: We analyzed global gene expression profiles of NSCLC clones surviving a pulse treatment with cisplatin and mapped deregulated signaling networks in silico by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). Further validation was done using siRNA.
RESULTS: The pooled cisplatin-surviving NSCLC clones from each of the biological replicates demonstrated heterogeneous gene expression patterns both in terms of the number and the identity of the altered genes. Genes involved in Wnt signaling pathway (Dickkopf-1, DKK1), DNA repair machinery (XRCC2) and cell-cell/cell-matrix interaction (FMN1, LGALS9) were among the top deregulated genes by microarray in these replicates and were validated by q-RT-PCR. We focused on DKK1 which previously was reported to be overexpressed in NSCLC patients. IPA network analysis revealed coordinate up-regulation of several DKK1 transcriptional regulators (TCF4, EZH2, DNAJB6 and HDAC2) in cisplatin-surviving clones from that biological replicate. Knockdown of DKK1 by siRNA sensitized for cisplatin in two different NSCLC cell lines and in ovarian A2780 cells, but not in the A2780 cis subline made resistant to cisplatin by chronic exposure, suggesting a role of DKK1 in intrinsic but not acquired platinum refractoriness.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified DKK1 as a possible marker of a cisplatin-refractory phenotype and as a potential novel therapeutic target to improve platinum response of NSCLC cells.

Wu G, Liu A, Zhu J, et al.
MiR-1207 overexpression promotes cancer stem cell-like traits in ovarian cancer by activating the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(30):28882-94 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is strictly controlled by multiple negative regulators. However, how tumor cells override the negative regulatory effects to maintain constitutive activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, which is commonly observed in various cancers, remains puzzling. In current study, we reported that overexpression of miR-1207 in ovarian cancer activated Wnt/β-catenin signaling by directly targeting and suppressing secreted Frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1), AXIN2 and inhibitor of β-catenin and TCF-4 (ICAT), which are vital negative regulators of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. We found that the expression of miR-1207 was ubiquitously upregulated in both ovarian cancer tissues and cells, which inversely correlated with patient overall survival. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-1207 enhanced, while silencing miR-1207 reduced, stem cell-like traits of ovarian cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, including tumor sphere formation capability and proportion of SP+ and CD133+ cells. Importantly, upregulating miR-1207 promoted, while silencing miR-1207 inhibited, the tumorigenicity of ovarian cancer cells. Hence, our results suggest that miR-1207 plays a vital role in promoting the cancer stem cell-like phenotype in ovarian cancer and might represent a potential target for anti-ovarian cancer therapy.

Heerma van Voss MR, Vesuna F, Trumpi K, et al.
Identification of the DEAD box RNA helicase DDX3 as a therapeutic target in colorectal cancer.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(29):28312-26 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
Identifying druggable targets in the Wnt-signaling pathway can optimize colorectal cancer treatment. Recent studies have identified a member of the RNA helicase family DDX3 (DDX3X) as a multilevel activator of Wnt signaling in cells without activating mutations in the Wnt-signaling pathway. In this study, we evaluated whether DDX3 plays a role in the constitutively active Wnt pathway that drives colorectal cancer. We determined DDX3 expression levels in 303 colorectal cancers by immunohistochemistry. 39% of tumors overexpressed DDX3. High cytoplasmic DDX3 expression correlated with nuclear β-catenin expression, a marker of activated Wnt signaling. Functionally, we validated this finding in vitro and found that inhibition of DDX3 with siRNA resulted in reduced TCF4-reporter activity and lowered the mRNA expression levels of downstream TCF4-regulated genes. In addition, DDX3 knockdown in colorectal cancer cell lines reduced proliferation and caused a G1 arrest, supporting a potential oncogenic role of DDX3 in colorectal cancer. RK-33 is a small molecule inhibitor designed to bind to the ATP-binding site of DDX3. Treatment of colorectal cancer cell lines and patient-derived 3D cultures with RK-33 inhibited growth and promoted cell death with IC50 values ranging from 2.5 to 8 μM. The highest RK-33 sensitivity was observed in tumors with wild-type APC-status and a mutation in CTNNB1. Based on these results, we conclude that DDX3 has an oncogenic role in colorectal cancer. Inhibition of DDX3 with the small molecule inhibitor RK-33 causes inhibition of Wnt signaling and may therefore be a promising future treatment strategy for a subset of colorectal cancers.

Vuong LM, Chellappa K, Dhahbi JM, et al.
Differential Effects of Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4α Isoforms on Tumor Growth and T-Cell Factor 4/AP-1 Interactions in Human Colorectal Cancer Cells.
Mol Cell Biol. 2015; 35(20):3471-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
The nuclear receptor hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) is tumor suppressive in the liver but amplified in colon cancer, suggesting that it also might be oncogenic. To investigate whether this discrepancy is due to different HNF4α isoforms derived from its two promoters (P1 and P2), we generated Tet-On-inducible human colon cancer (HCT116) cell lines that express either the P1-driven (HNF4α2) or P2-driven (HNF4α8) isoform and analyzed them for tumor growth and global changes in gene expression (transcriptome sequencing [RNA-seq] and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing [ChIP-seq]). The results show that while HNF4α2 acts as a tumor suppressor in the HCT116 tumor xenograft model, HNF4α8 does not. Each isoform regulates the expression of distinct sets of genes and recruits, colocalizes, and competes in a distinct fashion with the Wnt/β-catenin mediator T-cell factor 4 (TCF4) at CTTTG motifs as well as at AP-1 motifs (TGAXTCA). Protein binding microarrays (PBMs) show that HNF4α and TCF4 share some but not all binding motifs and that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in sites bound by both HNF4α and TCF4 can alter binding affinity in vitro, suggesting that they could play a role in cancer susceptibility in vivo. Thus, the HNF4α isoforms play distinct roles in colon cancer, which could be due to differential interactions with the Wnt/β-catenin/TCF4 and AP-1 pathways.

Mir R, Pradhan SJ, Patil P, et al.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling regulated SATB1 promotes colorectal cancer tumorigenesis and progression.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(13):1679-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
The chromatin organizer SATB1 has been implicated in the development and progression of multiple cancers including breast and colorectal cancers. However, the regulation and role of SATB1 in colorectal cancers is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that expression of SATB1 is induced upon hyperactivation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and repressed upon depletion of TCF7L2 (TCF4) and β-catenin. Using several colorectal cancer cell line models and the APC min mutant zebrafish in vivo model, we established that SATB1 is a novel target of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We show that direct binding of TCF7L2/β-catenin complex on Satb1 promoter is required for the regulation of SATB1. Moreover, SATB1 is sufficient to regulate the expression of β-catenin, members of TCF family, multiple downstream effectors and mediators of Wnt pathway. SATB1 potentiates the cellular changes and expression of key cancer-associated genes in non-aggressive colorectal cells, promotes their aggressive phenotype and tumorigenesis in vivo. Conversely, depletion of SATB1 from aggressive cells reprograms the expression of cancer-associated genes, reverses their cancer phenotype and reduces the potential of these cells to develop tumors in vivo. We also show that SATB1 and β-catenin bind to the promoters of TCF7L2 and the downstream targets of Wnt signaling and regulate their expression. Our findings suggest that SATB1 shares a feedback regulatory network with TCF7L2/β-catenin signaling and is required for Wnt signaling-dependent regulation of β-catenin. Collectively, these results provide unequivocal evidence to establish that SATB1 reprograms the expression of tumor growth- and metastasis-associated genes to promote tumorigenesis and functionally overlaps with Wnt signaling critical for colorectal cancer tumorigenesis.

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