WNT3A

Gene Summary

Gene:WNT3A; wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 3A
Location:1q42
Summary:The WNT gene family consists of structurally related genes which encode secreted signaling proteins. These proteins have been implicated in oncogenesis and in several developmental processes, including regulation of cell fate and patterning during embryogenesis. This gene is a member of the WNT gene family. It encodes a protein which shows 96% amino acid identity to mouse Wnt3A protein, and 84% to human WNT3 protein, another WNT gene product. This gene is clustered with WNT14 gene, another family member, in chromosome 1q42 region. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein Wnt-3a
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 17 August, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 17 August 2015 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.

  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Apoptosis
  • Base Sequence
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Western Blotting
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Cell Movement
  • Wnt3 Protein
  • Gene Expression
  • Cell Line
  • MicroRNAs
  • Cell Proliferation
  • RTPCR
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Down-Regulation
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Up-Regulation
  • Transfection
  • siRNA
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Transcription
  • TCF Transcription Factors
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Chromosome 1
  • Lung Cancer
  • Promoter Regions
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • p53 Protein
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptors
  • Messenger RNA
  • Breast Cancer
Tag cloud generated 17 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: WNT3A (cancer-related)

Thomas M, Bayha C, Vetter S, et al.
Activating and Inhibitory Functions of WNT/β-Catenin in the Induction of Cytochromes P450 by Nuclear Receptors in HepaRG Cells.
Mol Pharmacol. 2015; 87(6):1013-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
The WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway has been identified as an important endogenous regulator of hepatic cytochrome P450 (P450) expression in mouse liver. In particular, it is involved in the regulation of P450 expression in response to exposure to xenobiotic agonists of the nuclear receptors constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and Nrf2. To systematically elucidate the effect of the WNT/β-catenin pathway on the regulation and inducibility of major human P450 enzymes, HepaRG cells were treated with either the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway agonist, WNT3a, or with small interfering RNA directed against β-catenin, alone or in combination with a panel of activating ligands for AhR [2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)], CAR [6-(4-chlorophenyl)imidazo[2,1-b][1,3]thiazole-5-carbaldehyde-O-(3,4-dichlorobenzyl)oxime (CITCO)], pregnane X receptor (PXR) [rifampicin], and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α [4-chloro-6-(2,3-xylidino)-2-pyrimidinylthioacetic acid (WY14,643)]. Assessment of P450 gene expression and enzymatic activity after downregulation or activation of the WNT/β-catenin pathway revealed a requirement of β-catenin in the AhR-, CAR-, and PXR-mediated induction of CYP1A, CYP2B6 and CYP3A4 (for CAR and PXR), and CYP2C8 (for PXR) gene expression. By contrast, activation of the WNT/β-catenin pathway prevented PPARα-mediated induction of CYP1A, CYP2C8, CYP3A4, and CYP4A11 genes, suggesting a dominant-negative role of β-catenin in PPARα-mediated regulation of these genes. Our data indicate a significant effect of the WNT/β-catenin pathway on the regulation of P450 enzymes in human hepatocytes and reveal a novel crosstalk between β-catenin and PPARα signaling pathways in the regulation of P450 expression.

Sobel K, Tham M, Stark HJ, et al.
Wnt-3a-activated human fibroblasts promote human keratinocyte proliferation and matrix destruction.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(12):2786-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant Wnt regulation, detectable by nuclear translocation of beta-catenin, is a hallmark of many cancers including skin squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). By analyzing primary human skin SCCs, we demonstrate that nuclear beta-catenin is not restricted to SCC cells but also detected in stromal fibroblasts, suggesting an important role for aberrant Wnt regulation also in the tumor microenvironment. When human keratinocytes and fibroblasts were treated with Wnt-3a, fibroblasts proved to be more responsive. Accordingly, Wnt-3a did not alter HaCaT cell functions in a cell-autonomous manner. However, when organotypic cultures (OTCs) were treated with Wnt-3a, HaCaT keratinocytes responded with increased proliferation. As nuclear beta-catenin was induced only in the fibroblasts, this argued for a Wnt-dependent, paracrine keratinocyte stimulation. Global gene expression analysis of Wnt-3a-stimulated fibroblasts identified genes encoding interleukin-8 (IL-8) and C-C motif chemokine 2 (CCL-2) as well as matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) as Wnt-3a targets. In agreement, we show that IL-8 and CCL-2 were secreted in high amounts by Wnt-3a-stimulated fibroblasts also in OTCs. The functional role of IL-8 and CCL-2 as keratinocyte growth regulators was confirmed by directly stimulating HaCaT cell proliferation in conventional cultures. Most important, neutralizing antibodies against IL-8 and CCL-2 abolished the Wnt-dependent HaCaT cell hyperproliferation in OTCs. Additionally, MMP-1 was expressed in high amounts in Wnt-3a-stimulated OTCs and degraded the stromal matrix. Thus, our data show that Wnt-3a stimulates fibroblasts to secrete both keratinocyte proliferation-inducing cytokines and stroma-degrading metalloproteinases, thereby providing evidence for a novel Wnt deregulation in the tumor-stroma directly contributing to skin cancer progression.

Miao Y, Wang L, Zhang X, et al.
Promoter methylation-mediated silencing of β-catenin enhances invasiveness of non-small cell lung cancer and predicts adverse prognosis.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e112258 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
β-Catenin plays dual role in adhesion complex formation and the Wnt signaling pathway. Although β-catenin expression appears to be upregulated and Wnt signaling pathway is activated in the majority of cancers, its expression level seems to be lost in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We previously reported that the promoter of β-catenin was hypermethylated in two NSCLC cell lines. In the current study, we expanded our analysis for the methylation status of β-catenin promoter region and its protein expression in seven NSCLC cell lines and a series of 143 cases of primary human lung cancer with adjacent non-neoplastic tissues. Quantitative methylation specific PCR (qMSP) analysis showed methylation of β-catenin promoter region in five NSCLC cell lines, with increased β-catenin protein levels upon 5'-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) treatment. The methylation status in SPC (methylated) and A549 (unmethylated) was confirmed by bisulfite sequencing PCR. 5-Aza-dC treatment inhibited invasiveness of SPC but not A549. Immunofluorescence analysis showed membranous β-catenin expression was lost in SPC and could be re-established by 5-aza-dC, while Wnt3a treatment led to nuclear translocation of β-catenin in both SPC and A549. Dual-luciferase assays indicated that 5-aza-dC treatment caused no significant increase in Wnt signaling activity compared with Wnt3a treatment. The effect of demethylation agent in SPC can be reversed by β-catenin depletion but not E-cadherin depletion which indicated that the methylation mediated β-catenin silencing might enhance NSCLC invasion and metastasis in an E-cadherin independent manner. Subsequent immunohistochemistry results further confirmed that β-catenin promoter hypermethylation correlated with loss of immunoreactive protein expression, positive lymph node metastasis, high TNM stage and poor prognosis. The present study implicates β-catenin promoter hypermethylation in the mechanism of epigenetic changes underlying NSCLC metastasis and progression, thus indicating the potential of β-catenin as a novel epigenetic target for the treatment of NSCLC patients.

Johnson RW, Merkel AR, Page JM, et al.
Wnt signaling induces gene expression of factors associated with bone destruction in lung and breast cancer.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2014; 31(8):945-59 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is an important regulator of bone destruction in bone metastatic tumors. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) stimulates PTHrP production in part through the transcription factor Gli2, which is regulated independent of the Hedgehog signaling pathway in osteolytic cancer cells. However, inhibition of TGF-β in vivo does not fully inhibit tumor growth in bone or tumor-induced bone destruction, suggesting other pathways are involved. While Wnt signaling regulates Gli2 in development, the role of Wnt signaling in bone metastasis is unknown. Therefore, we investigated whether Wnt signaling regulates Gli2 expression in tumor cells that induce bone destruction. We report here that Wnt activation by β-catenin/T cell factor 4 (TCF4) over-expression or lithium chloride (LiCl) treatment increased Gli2 and PTHrP expression in osteolytic cancer cells. This was mediated through the TCF and Smad binding sites within the Gli2 promoter as determined by promoter mutation studies, suggesting cross-talk between TGF-β and Wnt signaling. Culture of tumor cells on substrates with bone-like rigidity increased Gli2 and PTHrP production, enhanced autocrine Wnt activity and led to an increase in the TCF/Wnt signaling reporter (TOPFlash), enriched β-catenin nuclear accumulation, and elevated Wnt-related genes by PCR-array. Stromal cells serve as an additional paracrine source of Wnt ligands and enhanced Gli2 and PTHrP mRNA levels in MDA-MB-231 and RWGT2 cells in vitro and promoted tumor-induced bone destruction in vivo in a β-catenin/Wnt3a-dependent mechanism. These data indicate that a combination of matrix rigidity and stromal-secreted factors stimulate Gli2 and PTHrP through Wnt signaling in osteolytic breast cancer cells, and there is significant cross-talk between the Wnt and TGF-β signaling pathways. This suggests that the Wnt signaling pathway may be a potential therapeutic target for inhibiting tumor cell response to the bone microenvironment and at the very least should be considered in clinical regimens targeting TGF-β signaling.

Klaus C, Schneider U, Hedberg C, et al.
Modulating effects of acyl-CoA synthetase 5-derived mitochondrial Wnt2B palmitoylation on intestinal Wnt activity.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(40):14855-64 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the role of acyl-CoA synthetase 5 (ACSL5) activity in Wnt signaling in intestinal surface epithelia.
METHODS: Several cell lines were used to investigate the ACSL5-dependent expression and synthesis of Wnt2B, a mitochondrially expressed protein of the Wnt signaling family. Wnt activity was functionally assessed with a luciferase reporter assay. ACSL5-related biochemical Wnt2B modifications were investigated with a modified acyl-exchange assay. The findings from the cell culture models were verified using an Apc(min/+) mouse model as well as normal and neoplastic diseased human intestinal tissues.
RESULTS: In the presence of ACSL5, Wnt2B was unable to translocate into the nucleus and was enriched in mitochondria, which was paralleled by a significant decrease in Wnt activity. ACSL5-dependent S-palmitoylation of Wnt2B was identified as a molecular reason for mitochondrial Wnt2B accumulation. In cell culture systems, a strong relation of ACSL5 expression, Wnt2B palmitoylation, and degree of malignancy were found. Using normal mucosa, the association of ACSL5 and Wnt2B was seen, but in intestinal neoplasias the mechanism was only rudimentarily observed.
CONCLUSION: ACSL5 mediates antiproliferative activities via Wnt2B palmitoylation with diminished Wnt activity. The molecular pathway is probably relevant for intestinal homeostasis, overwhelmed by other pathways in carcinogenesis.

Liu Y, Li P, Liu K, et al.
Timely inhibition of Notch signaling by DAPT promotes cardiac differentiation of murine pluripotent stem cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(10):e109588 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
The Notch signaling pathway plays versatile roles during heart development. However, there is contradictory evidence that Notch pathway either facilitates or impairs cardiomyogenesis in vitro. In this study, we developed iPSCs by reprogramming of murine fibroblasts with GFP expression governed by Oct4 promoter, and identified an effective strategy to enhance cardiac differentiation through timely modulation of Notch signaling. The Notch inhibitor DAPT (N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-l-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester) alone drove the iPSCs to a neuronal fate. After mesoderm induction of embryoid bodies initiated by ascorbic acid (AA), the subsequent treatment of DAPT accelerated the generation of spontaneously beating cardiomyocytes. The timed synergy of AA and DAPT yielded an optimal efficiency of cardiac differentiation. Mechanistic studies showed that Notch pathway plays a biphasic role in cardiomyogenesis. It favors the early-stage cardiac differentiation, but exerts negative effects on the late-stage differentiation. Therefore, DAPT administration at the late stage enforced the inhibition of endogenous Notch activity, thereby enhancing cardiomyogenesis. In parallel, DAPT dramatically augmented the expression of Wnt3a, Wnt11, BMP2, and BMP4. In conclusion, our results highlight a practicable approach to generate cardiomyocytes from iPSCs based on the stage-specific biphasic roles of Notch signaling in cardiomyogenesis.

Fan K, Li N, Qi J, et al.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling induces the transcription of cystathionine-γ-lyase, a stimulator of tumor in colon cancer.
Cell Signal. 2014; 26(12):2801-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE) is a major endogenous enzyme producing H2S which, as a third gasotransmitter, plays important roles in many physiological and pathological processes. The mechanism of regulating CSE gene expression is unclear and the roles of CSE/H2S in tumor also have not got a profound understanding, especially in colon cancer. Our study demonstrated that CSE gene expression was regulated by the Wnt pathway on transcriptional level. Activating the Wnt pathway by either Wnt3a or LiCl increased CSE mRNA and protein levels, while siRNA-mediated silence of β-catenin decreased CSE mRNA and protein levels. XAV939 treatment which accelerated β-catenin degradation could reduce CSE protein level. To reveal the mechanism, two TCF/LEF binding sites were found in CSE promoter whose activity had a positive response to β-catenin overexpression in 293T cells. Mutations of TCF/LEF binding sites led to an increase of the promoter activity. It indicated that TCF/LEF likely acted as a repressor to CSE gene transcription, and Wnt signal contributed to free β-catenin accumulation to possibly relieve the repression. Either knockdown of CSE by shRNA (shCSE) or its inhibition by PAG decreased SW480 cell proliferation, migration, and tumor xenograft growth in nude mice. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that the Wnt pathway regulates CSE gene expression on transcriptional level and CSE/H2S plays important roles in colon cancer.

Yang Y, Li M, Chang S, et al.
MicroRNA-195 acts as a tumor suppressor by directly targeting Wnt3a in HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2014; 10(5):2643-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, non‑coding, endogenous RNAs that are important in tumor cell biological processes as they regulate gene expression. miR-195 has been demonstrated to be a tumor repressor in numerous types of human cancer. However, the mechanism by which miR‑195 suppresses tumor development remains to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of miR-195 on the biological functions of HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and identify the association between miR-195 and Wnt3a in HCC. miR-195 mRNA expression levels in HCC tissues and cell lines were measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis. miR-195 function was measured with cell proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis assays following transfection with miR‑195 and anti‑miR‑195 sequences, and the respective controls. Luciferase reporter assay was used to determine whether Wnt3a was a target of miR-195. In addition, Wnt3a expression levels were determined in HCC cells using western blot analysis. The miR-195 expression levels were found to be reduced in HCC tissues and cell lines. miR-195 overexpression resulted in a reduction in cell proliferation. In addition, the overexpression of miR-195 in HCC cells induced G1 phase cell cycle arrest and promoted apoptosis. Furthermore, Wnt3a was demonstrated to be directly targeted by miR-195. These findings suggest that miR-195 is key in regulating cell proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis through targeting Wnt3a. In addition, overexpression of miR-195 may be a potential therapeutic strategy in the treatment of HCC.

Warrier S, Bhuvanalakshmi G, Arfuso F, et al.
Cancer stem-like cells from head and neck cancers are chemosensitized by the Wnt antagonist, sFRP4, by inducing apoptosis, decreasing stemness, drug resistance and epithelial to mesenchymal transition.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2014; 21(9):381-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are defined by high self-renewal and drug refractory potential. Involvement of Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been implicated in rapidly cycling cells such as CSCs, and inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is a novel approach to target CSCs from HNSCC. In this study, we found that an antagonist of FrzB/Wnt, the secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4), inhibited the growth of CSCs from two HNSCC cell lines, Hep2 and KB. We enriched the CD44(+) CSC population, and grew them in spheroid cultures. sFRP4 decreased the proliferation and increased the sensitivity of spheroids to a commonly used drug in HNSCC, namely cisplatin. Self-renewal in sphere formation assays decreased upon sFRP4 treatment, and the effect was reverted by the addition of Wnt3a. sFRP4 treatment of spheroids also decreased β-catenin, confirming its action through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Quantitative PCR demonstrated a clear decrease of the stemness markers CD44 and ALDH, and an increase in CD24 and drug-resistance markers ABCG2 and ABCC4. Furthermore, we found that after sFRP4 treatment, there was a reversal in the expression of epithelial to mesenchymal (EMT) markers with the restoration of the epithelial marker E-cadherin, and depletion of EMT-specific markers twist, snail and N-cadherin. This is the first report demonstrating that the naturally occurring Wnt inhibitor, sFRP4, can be a potential drug to destroy CSC-enriched spheroids from HNSCCs. The repression of EMT and the decrease in stemness profile further strengthen the use of sFRP4 as a potent therapeutic against CSCs.

Kim JT, Liu C, Zaytseva YY, et al.
Neurotensin, a novel target of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, promotes growth of neuroendocrine tumor cells.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(6):1475-81 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays a pivotal role in regulating cell growth and differentiation by activation of the β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF) complex and subsequent regulation of a set of target genes that have one or more TCF-binding elements (TBEs). Hyperactivation of this pathway has been implicated in numerous malignancies including human neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Neurotensin (NT), an intestinal hormone, induces proliferation of several gastrointestinal (GI) cancers including cancers of the pancreas and colon. Here, we analyzed the human NT promoter in silico and found at least four consensus TBEs within the proximal promoter region. Using a combination of ChIP and luciferase reporter assays, we identified one TBE (located ∼900 bp proximal from the transcription start site) that was immunoprecipitated efficiently by TCF4-targeting antibody; mutation of this site attenuated the responsiveness to β-catenin. We also confirmed that the promoter activity and the mRNA and protein expression levels of NT were increased by various Wnt pathway activators and decreased by Wnt inhibitors in NET cell lines BON and QGP-1, which express and secrete NT. Similarly, the intracellular content and secretion of NT were induced by Wnt3a in these cells. Finally, inhibition of NT signaling suppressed cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth and decreased expression levels of growth-related proteins in NET cells. Our results indicate that NT is a direct target of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and may be a mediator for NET cell growth.

Park S, Yun E, Hwang IH, et al.
Ilimaquinone and ethylsmenoquinone, marine sponge metabolites, suppress the proliferation of multiple myeloma cells by down-regulating the level of β-catenin.
Mar Drugs. 2014; 12(6):3231-44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
Deregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling promotes the development of a broad range of human cancers, including multiple myeloma, and is thus a potential target for the development of therapeutics for this disease. Here, we used a cell-based reporter system to demonstrate that ilimaquinone and ethylsmenoquinone (formerly smenorthoquinone), sesquiterpene-quinones from a marine sponge, inhibited β-catenin response transcription induced with Wnt3a-conditioned medium, by down-regulating the level of intracellular β-catenin. Pharmacological inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3β did not abolish the ilimaquinone and ethylsmenoquinone-mediated β-catenin down-regulation. Degradation of β-catenin was consistently found in RPMI-8226 multiple myeloma cells after ilimaquinone and ethylsmenoquinone treatment. Ilimaquinone and ethylsmenoquinone repressed the expression of cyclin D1, c-myc, and axin-2, which are β-catenin/T-cell factor-dependent genes, and inhibited the proliferation of multiple myeloma cells. In addition, ilimaquinone and ethylsmenoquinone significantly induced G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in RPMI-8266 cells. These findings suggest that ilimaquinone and ethylsmenoquinone exert their anti-cancer activity by blocking the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and have significant potential as therapies for multiple myeloma.

Ramachandran I, Ganapathy V, Gillies E, et al.
Wnt inhibitory factor 1 suppresses cancer stemness and induces cellular senescence.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1246 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
Hyperactivation of the Wingless-type (Wnt)/β-catenin pathway promotes tumor initiation, tumor growth and metastasis in various tissues. Although there is evidence for the involvement of Wnt/β-catenin pathway activation in salivary gland tumors, the precise mechanisms are unknown. Here we report for the first time that downregulation of the Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (WIF1) is a widespread event in salivary gland carcinoma ex-pleomorphic adenoma (CaExPA). We also show that WIF1 downregulation occurs in the CaExPA precursor lesion pleomorphic adenoma (PA) and indicates a higher risk of progression from benign to malignant tumor. Our results demonstrate that diverse mechanisms including WIF1 promoter hypermethylation and loss of heterozygosity contribute to WIF1 downregulation in human salivary gland tumors. In accordance with a crucial role in suppressing salivary gland tumor progression, WIF1 re-expression in salivary gland tumor cells inhibited cell proliferation, induced more differentiated phenotype and promoted cellular senescence, possibly through upregulation of tumor-suppressor genes, such as p53 and p21. Most importantly, WIF1 significantly diminished the number of salivary gland cancer stem cells and the anchorage-independent cell growth. Consistent with this observation, WIF1 caused a reduction in the expression of pluripotency and stemness markers (OCT4 and c-MYC), as well as adult stem cell self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation markers, such as WNT3A, TCF4, c-KIT and MYB. Furthermore, WIF1 significantly increased the expression of microRNAs pri-let-7a and pri-miR-200c, negative regulators of stemness and cancer progression. In addition, we show that WIF1 functions as a positive regulator of miR-200c, leading to downregulation of BMI1, ZEB1 and ZEB2, with a consequent increase in downstream targets such as E-cadherin. Our study emphasizes the prognostic and therapeutic potential of WIF1 in human salivary gland CaExPA. Moreover, our findings demonstrate a novel mechanism by which WIF1 regulates cancer stemness and senescence, which might have major implications in the field of cancer biology.

Farkas SA, Vymetalkova V, Vodickova L, et al.
DNA methylation changes in genes frequently mutated in sporadic colorectal cancer and in the DNA repair and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway genes.
Epigenomics. 2014; 6(2):179-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: The onset and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC) involves a cascade of genetic and/or epigenetic events. The aim of the present study was to address the DNA methylation status of genes relevant in colorectal carcinogenesis and its progression, such as genes frequently mutated in CRC, genes involved in the DNA repair and Wnt signaling pathway.
MATERIAL & METHODS: We analyzed methylation status in totally 160 genes in 12 paired colorectal tumors and adjacent healthy mucosal tissues using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation 450 BeadChip.
RESULTS: We found significantly aberrant methylation in 23 genes (NEIL1, NEIL3, DCLRE1C, NHEJ1, GTF2H5, CCNH, CTNNB1, DKK2, DKK3, FZD5 LRP5, TLE3, WNT2, WNT3A, WNT6, TCF7L1, CASP8, EDNRB1, GPC6, KIAA1804, MYO1B, SMAD2 and TTN). External validation by mRNA expression showed a good agreement between hypermethylation in cancer and down-regulated mRNA expression of the genes EDNRB1, GPC6 and SMAD2, and between hypomethylation and up-regulated mRNA expression of the CASP8 and DCLRE1C genes.
CONCLUSION: Aberrant methylation of the DCLRE1C and GPC6 genes are presented here for the first time and are therefore of special interest for further validation as novel candidate biomarker genes in CRC, and merit further validation with specific assays.

Jia Y, Nie F, Du A, et al.
Thymine DNA glycosylase promotes transactivation of β-catenin/TCFs by cooperating with CBP.
J Mol Cell Biol. 2014; 6(3):231-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG), an enzyme that initiates the repair of G/T and G/U mismatches, has been lately found crucial in embryonic development to maintain epigenetic stability and facilitate the active DNA demethylation. Here we report a novel role of TDG in Wnt signaling as a transcriptional coactivator of β-catenin/TCFs complex. Our data show that TDG binds to the transcriptional factor family LEF1/TCFs and potentiates β-catenin/TCFs transactivation, while TDG depletion suppresses Wnt3a-stimulated reporter activity or target gene transcription. Next, we show that CBP, a known coactivator, is also required for TDG function through forming a cooperative complex on target promoters. Moreover, there is an elevation of TDG levels in human colon cancer tissue, and knockdown of TDG inhibits proliferation of the colon cells. Overall, our results reveal that TDG, as a new coactivator, promotes β-catenin/TCFs transactivation and functionally cooperates with CBP in canonical Wnt signaling.

Chien AJ, Haydu LE, Biechele TL, et al.
Targeted BRAF inhibition impacts survival in melanoma patients with high levels of Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e94748 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
Unprecedented clinical responses have been reported in advanced stage metastatic melanoma patients treated with targeted inhibitors of constitutively activated mutant BRAF, which is present in approximately half of all melanomas. We and others have previously observed an association of elevated nuclear β-catenin with improved survival in molecularly-unselected melanoma patients. This study sought to determine whether levels of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in melanoma tumors prior to treatment might predict patient responses to BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi). We performed automated quantification of β-catenin immunohistochemical expression in pretreatment BRAF-mutant tumors from 32 BRAFi-treated melanoma patients. Unexpectedly, patients with higher nuclear β-catenin in their tumors did not exhibit the survival advantage previously observed in molecularly-unselected melanoma patients who did not receive BRAFi. In cultured melanoma cells treated with long-term BRAFi, activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is markedly inhibited, coinciding with a loss of the enhancement of BRAFi-induced apoptosis by WNT3A observed in BRAFi-naïve cells. Together, these observations suggest that long-term treatment with BRAFi can impact the interaction between BRAF/MAPK and Wnt/β-catenin signaling to affect patient outcomes. Studies with larger patient cohorts are required to determine whether nuclear β-catenin expression correlates with clinical responses to BRAFi and to specific mechanisms of acquired resistance to BRAFi. Understanding these pathway interactions will be necessary to facilitate efforts to individualize therapies for melanoma patients.

Lu W, Lin C, Li Y
Rottlerin induces Wnt co-receptor LRP6 degradation and suppresses both Wnt/β-catenin and mTORC1 signaling in prostate and breast cancer cells.
Cell Signal. 2014; 26(6):1303-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling can result in up-regulation of mTORC1 signaling in cancer cells. The low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-6 (LRP6) is an essential Wnt co-receptor for Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We found that rottlerin, a natural plant polyphenol, suppressed LRP6 expression and phosphorylation, and inhibited Wnt/β-catenin signaling in HEK293 cells. Furthermore, the inhibitory effects of rottlerin on LRP6 expression/phosphorylation and Wnt/β-catenin signaling were confirmed in human prostate cancer PC-3 and DU145 cells and breast cancer MDA-MB-231 and T-47D cells. Mechanistically, rottlerin promoted LRP6 degradation, but had no effects on LRP6 transcriptional activity. In addition, rottlerin-mediated LRP6 down-regulation was unrelated to activation of 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Importantly, we also found that rottlerin inhibited mTORC1 signaling in prostate and breast cancer cells. Finally, we demonstrated that rottlerin was able to suppress the expression of cyclin D1 and survivin, two targets of both Wnt/β-catenin and mTORC1 signaling, in prostate and breast cancer cells, and displayed remarkable anticancer activity with IC(50) values between 0.7 and 1.7 μM for prostate cancer PC-3 and DU145 cells and breast cancer MDA-MB-231 and T-47D cells. The IC(50) values are comparable to those shown to suppress the activities of Wnt/β-catenin and mTORC1 signaling in prostate and breast cancer cells. Our data indicate that rottlerin is a novel LRP6 inhibitor and suppresses both Wnt/β-catenin and mTORC1 signaling in prostate and breast cancer cells, and that LRP6 represents a potential therapeutic target for cancers.

Lee MA, Park JH, Rhyu SY, et al.
Wnt3a expression is associated with MMP-9 expression in primary tumor and metastatic site in recurrent or stage IV colorectal cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:125 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is known to affect in cancer oncogenesis and progression by interacting with the tumor microenvironment. However, the roles of wnt3a and wnt5a in colorectal cancer (CRC) have not been thoroughly studied. In the present study, we investigated the expression of wnt protein and the concordance rate in primary tumor and metastatic sites in CRC. To determine the relationship of wnt proteins with invasion related protein, we also analyzed the association between wnt protein expression and the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2).
METHODS: Tumor tissue was obtained from eighty-three paraffin- embedded blocks which were using resected tissue from both the primary tumor and metastatic sites for each patient. We performed immunohistochemical staining for wnt3a, wnt5a, β-catenin, MMP-9 and VEGFR-2.
RESULTS: Wnt3a, wnt5a, β-catenin, and MMP-9 expression was high; the proteins were found in over 50% of the primary tumors, but the prevalence was lower in tissue from metastatic sites. The concordance rates between the primary tumor and metastatic site were 76.2% for wnt5a and 79.4% for wnt3a and β-catenin, but VEGFR-2 was expressed in 67.4% of the metastatic sites even when not found in the primary tumor. Wnt3a expression in primary tumors was significantly associated with lymph node involvement (p = 0.038) and MMP-9 expression in the primary tumor (p = 0.0387), mesenchyme adjacent to tumor (p = 0.022) and metastatic site (p = 0.004). There was no other relationship in the expression of these proteins. Vascular invasion in primary tumor tissue may be a potential prognostic marker for liver metastasis, but no significant association was observed among the wnt protein, MMP-9, and VEGFR-2 for peritoneal seeding. In survival analysis, β-catenin expression was significantly correlated with overall survival (p = 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Wnt3a and wnt5a expression had a concordance rate higher than 60% with a high concordance rate between the primary tumor and metastatic site. Wnt3a expression is associated with the expression of MMP-9 in primary tumor tissue adjacent mesenchymal tissue, and at the metastatic site. As a prognostic marker, only β-catenin expression showed significant relation with survival outcome.

Tumova L, Pombinho AR, Vojtechova M, et al.
Monensin inhibits canonical Wnt signaling in human colorectal cancer cells and suppresses tumor growth in multiple intestinal neoplasia mice.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(4):812-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt signaling pathway is required during embryonic development and for the maintenance of homeostasis in adult tissues. However, aberrant activation of the pathway is implicated in a number of human disorders, including cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, breast, liver, melanoma, and hematologic malignancies. In this study, we identified monensin, a polyether ionophore antibiotic, as a potent inhibitor of Wnt signaling. The inhibitory effect of monensin on the Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascade was observed in mammalian cells stimulated with Wnt ligands, glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibitors, and in cells transfected with β-catenin expression constructs. Furthermore, monensin suppressed the Wnt-dependent tail fin regeneration in zebrafish and Wnt- or β-catenin-induced formation of secondary body axis in Xenopus embryos. In Wnt3a-activated HEK293 cells, monensin blocked the phoshorylation of Wnt coreceptor low-density lipoprotein receptor related protein 6 and promoted its degradation. In human colorectal carcinoma cells displaying deregulated Wnt signaling, monensin reduced the intracellular levels of β-catenin. The reduction attenuated the expression of Wnt signaling target genes such as cyclin D1 and SP5 and decreased the cell proliferation rate. In multiple intestinal neoplasia (Min) mice, daily administration of monensin suppressed progression of the intestinal tumors without any sign of toxicity on normal mucosa. Our data suggest monensin as a prospective anticancer drug for therapy of neoplasia with deregulated Wnt signaling.

Rachner TD, Göbel A, Thiele S, et al.
Dickkopf-1 is regulated by the mevalonate pathway in breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(1):R20 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Amino-bisphosphonates and statins inhibit the mevalonate pathway, and may exert anti-tumor effects. The Wnt inhibitor dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) promotes osteolytic bone lesions by inhibiting osteoblast functions and has been implicated as an adverse marker in multiple cancers. We assessed the effects of mevalonate pathway inhibition on DKK-1 expression in osteotropic breast cancer.
METHODS: Regulation of DKK-1 by bisphosphonates and statins was assessed in human breast cancer cell lines, and the role of the mevalonate pathway and downstream targets was analyzed. Moreover, the potential of breast cancer cells to modulate osteoblastogenesis via DKK-1 was studied in mC2C12 cells. Clinical relevance was validated by analyzing DKK-1 expression in the tissue and serum of women with breast cancer exposed to bisphosphonates.
RESULTS: DKK-1 was highly expressed in receptor-negative breast cancer cell lines. Patients with receptor-negative tumors displayed elevated levels of DKK-1 at the tissue and serum level compared to healthy controls. Zoledronic acid and atorvastatin potently suppressed DKK-1 in vitro by inhibiting geranylgeranylation of CDC42 and Rho. Regulation of DKK-1 was strongest in osteolytic breast cancer cell lines with abundant DKK-1 expression. Suppression of DKK-1 inhibited the ability of breast cancer cells to block WNT3A-induced production of alkaline phosphates and bone-protective osteoprotegerin in preosteoblastic C2C12 cells. In line with the in vitro data, treatment of breast cancer patients with zoledronic acid decreased DKK-1 levels by a mean of 60% after 12 months of treatment.
CONCLUSION: DKK-1 is a novel target of the mevalonate pathway that is suppressed by zoledronic acid and atorvastatin in breast cancer.

Takahashi H, Matsubara S, Kuwata T, et al.
Changes in expression of vascular endothelial growth factor D-related genes in placental mesenchymal dysplasia.
J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2014; 40(4):1145-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
A recent report indicated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-D, regulating cell proliferation and/or differentiation, may be associated with the development of placental mesenchymal dysplasia (PMD), a disorder characterized by cell proliferation/differentiation. In PMD placenta, we examined the expression of five cell-proliferation/differentiation-associated genes, namely, Wnt3a, Wnt5a, β-catenin, VEGF-D and Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1). In PMD, expressions of Wnt3a, Wnt5a and β-catenin were decreased, whereas those of VEGF-D and DKK-1 were increased. These abnormal expressions suggest a relationship between these genes and PMD pathogenesis/pathophysiology.

Warrier S, Balu SK, Kumar AP, et al.
Wnt antagonist, secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4), increases chemotherapeutic response of glioma stem-like cells.
Oncol Res. 2013; 21(2):93-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant gliomas have a highly tumorigenic subpopulation, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), that drives tumor formation and proliferation. CSCs possess inherent resistance mechanisms against radiation- and chemotherapy-induced cancer cell death, enabling them to survive and initiate tumor recurrence. We examined the effect of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4), a Wnt signaling antagonist, in chemosensitizing the glioma cell line U138MG and glioma stem cells (GSCs) enriched from U138MG to chemotherapeutics. We found that sFRP4 alone and in combination with either doxorubicin or cisplatin induced apoptosis. Proliferation decreased substantially in GSC-enriched population as measured by MTT and BrdU assays. JC-1 and caspase-3 assays demonstrated that cell death was through the apoptotic pathway. sFRP4 treatment also decreased neurosphere formation and induced neuronal differentiation. Inhibition by sFRP4 was abolished by Wnt3a, indicating that sFRP4 acts through the frizzled receptor. Further indication that sFRP4 acts through the Wnt β-catenin pathway was provided by decrease in the β-catenin protein and decrease in the β-catenin-stimulated gene cyclin D1 upon sFRP4 induction. By real-time PCR, an increase in apoptotic markers Bax and p21, a decrease in pro-proliferative marker CycD1, and a decrease in the GSC marker CD133 were observed. These observations indicate that sFRP4 is able to sensitize glioma cells and stem cells to chemotherapeutics. We thus identified for the first time that sFRP4 could help to destroy cancer stem cells of glioma cell line, which would lead to effective treatment regimen to combat brain tumors.

Li H, Lee HJ, Ahn YH, et al.
Tussilagone suppresses colon cancer cell proliferation by promoting the degradation of β-catenin.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 443(1):132-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway frequently induces colon cancer progression. In the present study, we identified tussilagone (TSL), a compound isolated from the flower buds of Tussilago farfara, as an inhibitor on β-catenin dependent Wnt pathway. TSL suppressed β-catenin/T-cell factor transcriptional activity and down-regulated β-catenin level both in cytoplasm and nuclei of HEK293 reporter cells when they were stimulated by Wnt3a or activated by an inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase-3β. Since the mRNA level was not changed by TSL, proteasomal degradation might be responsible for the decreased level of β-catenin. In SW480 and HCT116 colon cancer cell lines, TSL suppressed the β-catenin activity and also decreased the expression of cyclin D1 and c-myc, representative target genes of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and consequently inhibited the proliferation of colon cancer cells. Taken together, TSL might be a potential chemotherapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of human colon cancer.

Dey N, Barwick BG, Moreno CS, et al.
Wnt signaling in triple negative breast cancer is associated with metastasis.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:537 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Triple Negative subset of (TN) Breast Cancers (BC), a close associate of the basal-like subtype (with limited discordance) is an aggressive form of the disease which convey unpredictable, and poor prognosis due to limited treatment options and lack of proven effective targeted therapies.
METHODS: We conducted an expression study of 240 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) primary biopsies from two cohorts, including 130 TN tumors, to identify molecular mechanisms of TN disease.
RESULTS: The annotation of differentially expressed genes in TN tumors contained an overrepresentation of canonical Wnt signaling components in our cohort and others. These observations were supported by upregulation of experimentally induced oncogenic Wnt/β-catenin genes in TN tumors, recapitulated using targets induced by Wnt3A. A functional blockade of Wnt/β-catenin pathway by either a pharmacological Wnt-antagonist, WntC59, sulidac sulfide, or β-catenin (functional read out of Wnt/β-catenin pathway) SiRNA mediated genetic manipulation demonstrated that a functional perturbation of the pathway is causal to the metastasis- associated phenotypes including fibronectin-directed migration, F-actin organization, and invasion in TNBC cells. A classifier, trained on microarray data from β-catenin transfected mammary cells, identified a disproportionate number of TNBC breast tumors as compared to other breast cancer subtypes in a meta-analysis of 11 studies and 1,878 breast cancer patients, including the two cohorts published here. Patients identified by the Wnt/β-catenin classifier had a greater risk of lung and brain, but not bone metastases.
CONCLUSION: These data implicate transcriptional Wnt signaling as a hallmark of TNBC disease associated with specific metastatic pathways.

Song J, Wang Z, Ewing RM
Integrated analysis of the Wnt responsive proteome in human cells reveals diverse and cell-type specific networks.
Mol Biosyst. 2014; 10(1):45-53 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
Wnt signalling is a fundamentally important signalling pathway that regulates many aspects of metazoan development and is frequently dysregulated in cancer. Although many of the core components of the Wnt signalling pathway, such as β-catenin, have been extensively studied, the broad systems level responses of the mammalian cell to Wnt signalling are less well understood. In addition, the cell- or tissue-specific protein networks that modulate Wnt signalling in the diverse tissues or developmental stages in which it functions remain to be defined. To address these questions, we undertook a broad survey of the Wnt response in different human cell lines using both interaction and expression proteomics approaches. Our data reveal both similar and divergent responses of pathways and processes in the three cell-lines analyzed as well as a marked attenuation of the response to exogenous Wnt treatment in cells harbouring a stabilizing (activating) mutation of β-catenin. We also identify cell-type specific components of the Wnt signalling network and find that by integrating expression and interaction proteomics data a more complete description of the Wnt interaction network can be achieved. Finally, our results attest to the power of LC-MS/MS to reveal novel cellular responses in even relatively well studied biological pathways such as Wnt signalling.

James RG, Bosch KA, Kulikauskas RM, et al.
Protein kinase PKN1 represses Wnt/β-catenin signaling in human melanoma cells.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(48):34658-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2016 Related Publications
Advances in phosphoproteomics have made it possible to monitor changes in protein phosphorylation that occur at different steps in signal transduction and have aided the identification of new pathway components. In the present study, we applied this technology to advance our understanding of the responses of melanoma cells to signaling initiated by the secreted ligand WNT3A. We started by comparing the phosphopeptide patterns of cells treated with WNT3A for different periods of time. Next, we integrated these data sets with the results from a siRNA screen that targeted protein kinases. This integration of siRNA screening and proteomics enabled us to identify four kinases that exhibit altered phosphorylation in response to WNT3A and that regulate a luciferase reporter of β-catenin-responsive transcription (β-catenin-activated reporter). We focused on one of these kinases, an atypical PKC kinase, protein kinase N1 (PKN1). Reducing the levels of PKN1 with siRNAs significantly enhances activation of β-catenin-activated reporter and increases apoptosis in melanoma cell lines. Using affinity purification followed by mass spectrometry, we then found that PKN1 is present in a protein complex with a WNT3A receptor, Frizzled 7, as well as with proteins that co-purify with Frizzled 7. These data establish that the protein kinase PKN1 inhibits Wnt/β-catenin signaling and sensitizes melanoma cells to cell death stimulated by WNT3A.

Fox SA, Richards AK, Kusumah I, et al.
Expression profile and function of Wnt signaling mechanisms in malignant mesothelioma cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 440(1):82-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an uncommon and particularly aggressive cancer associated with asbestos exposure, which currently presents an intractable clinical challenge. Wnt signaling has been reported to play a role in the neoplastic properties of mesothelioma cells but has not been investigated in detail in this cancer. We surveyed expression of Wnts, their receptors, and other key molecules in this pathway in well established in vitro mesothelioma models in comparison with primary mesothelial cultures. We also tested the biological response of MM cell lines to exogenous Wnt and secreted regulators, as well as targeting β-catenin. We detected frequent expression of Wnt3 and Wnt5a, as well as Fzd 2, 4 and 6. The mRNA of Wnt4, Fzd3, sFRP4, APC and axin2 were downregulated in MM relative to mesothelial cells while LEF1 was overexpressed in MM. Functionally, we observed that Wnt3a stimulated MM proliferation while sFRP4 was inhibitory. Furthermore, directly targeting β-catenin expression could sensitise MM cells to cytotoxic drugs. These results provide evidence for altered expression of a number of Wnt/Fzd signaling molecules in MM. Modulation of Wnt signaling in MM may prove a means of targeting proliferation and drug resistance in this cancer.

Liu K, Luo Y, Tian H, et al.
The tumor suppressor LKB1 antagonizes WNT signaling pathway through modulating GSK3β activity in cell growth of esophageal carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(2):995-1002 [PubMed] Related Publications
The tumor suppressor LKB1 gene encodes a serine-threonine kinase that regulates cell proliferation and polarity. Inactivation of LKB1 by mutations in LKB1 or loss of its expression is highly correlated with lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers, and WNT/β-catenin pathway is also known to be involved in many human malignancies. However, the relationship between LKB1 and WNT signaling pathway in esophageal carcinoma remains unknown. The expression of LKB1 in 62 cases of esophageal cancer patients was determined by quantitative real-time PCR. It was found that LKB1 mRNA level was significantly lower than the adjacent normal epithelium and that the LKB1 downregulation was correlating with TNM stages. Moreover, the expression of WNT target genes such as Cyclin D1, C-MYC, MMP2, and FZD2 was significantly upregulated in esophageal cancer tissues. LKB1 overexpression in TE10 cells inhibited TOPFlash luciferase reporter activity and WNT target gene expression even in the presence of WNT3A. Conversely, LKB1 knockdown enhanced WNT signaling activity in esophageal cancer cells. It was also found that LKB1 antagonized WNT signaling pathway through interaction with GSK3β to downregulate β-catenin expression level. Functional investigation revealed that LKB1 suppressed the promotion effects of WNT3A on the cell growth of TE10 cells. The LKB1 functions in regulating cell growth and WNT target genes expression were impaired by GSK3β inhibition, suggesting that LKB1 antagonized WNT-induced cell proliferation through enhancement of GSK3β activity. Together, the interaction between LKB1 and GSK3β upregulates GSK3β activity to suppress WNT-induced cell proliferation in esophageal carcinoma cells. Loss of LKB1 expression may result in the deregulation of WNT/β-catenin pathway to promote malignant progression of esophageal cancer.

Goeppert B, Konermann C, Schmidt CR, et al.
Global alterations of DNA methylation in cholangiocarcinoma target the Wnt signaling pathway.
Hepatology. 2014; 59(2):544-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The molecular mechanisms underlying the genesis of cholangiocarcinomas (CCs) are poorly understood. Epigenetic changes such as aberrant hypermethylation and subsequent atypical gene expression are characteristic features of most human cancers. In CC, data regarding global methylation changes are lacking so far. We performed a genome-wide analysis for aberrant promoter methylation in human CCs. We profiled 10 intrahepatic and 8 extrahepatic CCs in comparison to non-neoplastic biliary tissue specimens, using methyl-CpG immunoprecipitation (MCIp) combined with whole-genome CpG island arrays. DNA methylation was confirmed by quantitative mass spectrometric analysis and functional relevance of promoter hypermethylation was shown in demethylation experiments of two CC cell lines using 5-aza-2'deoxycytidine (DAC) treatment. Immunohistochemical staining of tissue microarrays (TMAs) from 223 biliary tract cancers (BTCs) was used to analyze candidate gene expression at the protein level. Differentially methylated, promoter-associated regions were nonrandomly distributed and enriched for genes involved in cancer-related pathways including Wnt, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), and PI3K signaling pathways. In CC cell lines, silencing of genes involved in Wnt signaling, such as SOX17, WNT3A, DKK2, SFRP1, SFRP2, and SFRP4 was reversed after DAC administration. Candidate protein SFRP2 was substantially down-regulated in neoplastic tissues of all BTC subtypes as compared to normal tissues. A significant inverse correlation of SFRP2 protein expression and pT status was found in BTC patients.
CONCLUSION: We provide a comprehensive analysis to define the genome-wide methylation landscape of human CC. Several candidate genes of cancer-relevant signaling pathways were identified, and closer analysis of selected Wnt pathway genes confirmed the relevance of this pathway in CC. The presented global methylation data are the basis for future studies on epigenetic changes in cholangiocarcinogenesis.

Annavarapu SR, Cialfi S, Dominici C, et al.
Characterization of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in rhabdomyosarcoma.
Lab Invest. 2013; 93(10):1090-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and accounts for about 5% of all malignant paediatric tumours. β-Catenin, a multifunctional nuclear transcription factor in the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, is active in myogenesis and embryonal somite patterning. Dysregulation of Wnt signaling facilitates tumour invasion and metastasis. This study characterizes Wnt/β-catenin signaling and functional activity in paediatric embryonal and alveolar RMS. Immunohistochemical assessment of paraffin-embedded tissues from 44 RMS showed β-catenin expression in 26 cases with cytoplasmic/membranous expression in 9/14 cases of alveolar RMS, and 15/30 cases of embryonal RMS, whereas nuclear expression was only seen in 2 cases of embryonal RMS. The potential functional significance of β-catenin expression was tested in four RMS cell lines, two derived from embryonal (RD and RD18) RMS and two from alveolar (Rh4 and Rh30) RMS. Western blot analysis demonstrated the expression of Wnt-associated proteins including β-catenin, glycogen synthase kinase-3β, disheveled, axin-1, naked, LRP-6 and cadherins in all cell lines. Cell fractionation and immunofluorescence studies of the cell lines (after stimulation by human recombinant Wnt3a) showed reduced phosphorylation of β-catenin, stabilization of the active cytosolic form and nuclear translocation of β-catenin. Reporter gene assay demonstrated a T-cell factor/lymphoid-enhancing factor-mediated transactivation in these cells. In response to human recombinant Wnt3a, the alveolar RMS cells showed a significant decrease in proliferation rate and induction of myogenic differentiation (myogenin, MyoD1 and myf5). These data indicate that the central regulatory components of canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling are expressed and that this pathway is functionally active in a significant subset of RMS tumours and might represent a novel therapeutic target.

Nagano H, Tomimaru Y, Eguchi H, et al.
MicroRNA-29a induces resistance to gemcitabine through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in pancreatic cancer cells.
Int J Oncol. 2013; 43(4):1066-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although we studied previously the mechanisms of resistance of pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine (GEM), prediction of the response to GEM remains unsatisfactory. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between miR-29a expression and the response to GEM in pancreatic cancer cells. Changes in the growth-inhibitory effect of pancreatic cancer cells (MIAPaCa-2, PSN-1, BxPC-3 and Panc-1) to GEM were examined after overexpression or suppression of miR-29a. We also examined the effect of miR-29a on the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and investigated whether the altered growth-inhibitory effect by miR-29a suppression was weakened after the addition of Wnt3a, a Wnt/β-catenin signaling activator. MIAPaCa-2 and PSN-1 cells transfected with anti-miR-29a showed significantly lower resistance to GEM. In the anti-miR-29a-transfected cells, GEM induced significantly larger numbers of apoptotic cells and S phase accumulation compared to control cells, demonstrated by Annexin V assay and flow cytometric analysis of the cell cycle, respectively. The transfected cells showed overexpression of putative target molecules including Dkk1, Kremen2 and sFRP2 and lower activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. The addition of Wnt3a weakened the augmented growth-inhibitory effect of anti-miR-29a transfection. Our findings suggest that miR-29a expression correlates significantly with the growth-inhibitory effect of GEM and that activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway mediated the miR-29a-induced resistance to GEM in pancreatic cancer cell lines.

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