Gene Summary

Gene:WNT5B; Wnt family member 5B
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 94% and 80% amino acid identity to the mouse Wnt5b protein and the human WNT5A protein, respectively. Alternative splicing of this gene generates 2 transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein Wnt-5b
Source:NCBIAccessed: 10 March, 2017


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 (1992-2017)
Graph generated 10 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 10 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: WNT5B (cancer-related)

Hatta M, Naganuma K, Kato K, Yamazaki J
3-Deazaneplanocin A suppresses aggressive phenotype-related gene expression in an oral squamous cell carcinoma cell line.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015 Dec 4-11; 468(1-2):269-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
In tumor tissues, alterations of gene expression caused by aberrant epigenetic modifications confer phenotypic diversity on malignant cells. Although 3-deazaneplanocin A (DZNep) has been shown to reactivate tumor suppressor genes in several cancer cells, it remains unclear whether DZNep attenuates the malignant phenotypes of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of DZNep on the expression of genes related to aggressive phenotypes, such as epithelial-mesenchymal transition, in OSCC cells. We found that DZNep reduced the cellular levels of polycomb group proteins (EZH2, SUZ12, BMI1, and RING1A) and the associated trimethylation of Lys27 on histone H3 and monoubiquitination of Lys119 on histone H2A in the poorly differentiated OSCC cell line SAS. Immunocytochemical staining demonstrated that DZNep induced the reorganization of filamentous actin and the membrane localization of E-cadherin associated with cell-cell adhesions. We also found an inhibitory effect of DZNep on cell proliferation using a WST assay. Finally, quantitative RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that genes involved in the aggressive phenotypes (TWIST2, EGFR, ACTA2, TGFB1, WNT5B, and APLIN) were down-regulated, whereas epithelial phenotype genes (CDH1, CLDN4, IVL, and TGM1) were up-regulated in SAS cells treated with DZNep. Collectively, our findings suggest that DZNep reverses the aggressive characteristics of OSCC cells through the dynamic regulation of epithelial plasticity via the reprogramming of gene expression patterns.

Janovska P, Poppova L, Plevova K, et al.
Autocrine Signaling by Wnt-5a Deregulates Chemotaxis of Leukemic Cells and Predicts Clinical Outcome in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(2):459-69 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: ROR1, a receptor in the noncanonical Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway, is upregulated in malignant B cells of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. It has been shown that the Wnt/PCP pathway drives pathogenesis of CLL, but which factors activate the ROR1 and PCP pathway in CLL cells remains unclear.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: B lymphocytes from the peripheral blood of CLL patients were negatively separated using RosetteSep (StemCell) and gradient density centrifugation. Relative expression of WNT5A, WNT5B, and ROR1 was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. Protein levels, protein interaction, and downstream signaling were analyzed by immunoprecipitation and Western blotting. Migration capacity of primary CLL cells was analyzed by the Transwell migration assay.
RESULTS: By analyzing the expression in 137 previously untreated CLL patients, we demonstrate that WNT5A and WNT5B genes show dramatically (five orders of magnitude) varying expression in CLL cells. High WNT5A and WNT5B expression strongly associates with unmutated IGHV and shortened time to first treatment. In addition, WNT5A levels associate, independent of IGHV status, with the clinically worst CLL subgroups characterized by dysfunctional p53 and mutated SF3B1. We provide functional evidence that WNT5A-positive primary CLL cells have increased motility and attenuated chemotaxis toward CXCL12 and CCL19 that can be overcome by inhibitors of Wnt/PCP signaling.
CONCLUSIONS: These observations identify Wnt-5a as the crucial regulator of ROR1 activity in CLL and suggest that the autocrine Wnt-5a signaling pathway allows CLL cells to overcome natural microenvironmental regulation.

Chakravadhanula M, Hampton CN, Chodavadia P, et al.
Wnt pathway in atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors.
Neuro Oncol. 2015; 17(4):526-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is an aggressive pediatric brain tumor with limited therapeutic options. The hypothesis for this study was that the Wnt pathway triggered by the Wnt5B ligand plays an important role in ATRT biology. To address this hypothesis, the role of WNT5B and other Wnt pathway genes was analyzed in ATRT tissues and ATRT primary cell lines.
METHODS: Transcriptome-sequencing analyses were performed using nanoString platforms, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR, immunoprecipitation, short interference RNA studies, cell viability studies, and drug dose response (DDR) assays.
RESULTS: Our transcriptome-sequencing results of Wnt pathway genes from ATRT tissues and cell lines indicated that the WNT5B gene is significantly upregulated in ATRT samples compared with nontumor brain samples. These results also indicated a differential expression of both canonical and noncanonical Wnt genes. Imunoprecipitation studies indicated that Wnt5B binds to Frizzled1 and Ryk receptors. Inhibition of WNT5B by short interference RNA decreased the expression of FRIZZLED1 and RYK. Cell viability studies a indicated significant decrease in cell viability by inhibiting Frizzled1 receptor. DDR assays showed promising results with some inhibitors.
CONCLUSIONS: These promising therapeutic options will be studied further before starting a translational clinical trial. The success of these options will improve care for these patients.

Sun D, Qin L, Xu Y, et al.
Influence of adriamycin on changes in Nanog, Oct-4, Sox2, ARID1 and Wnt5b expression in liver cancer stem cells.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(22):6974-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To determine the influence of Adriamycin (ADM) on the changes in Nanog, Oct4, Sox2, as well as, in ARID1 and Wnt5b expression in liver cancer stem cells.
METHODS: The MHCC97-L and HCCLM3 liver cancer cell lines were selected as the cell models in this study, and were routinely cultured. The 50% lethal dose (LD50) in the cell lines was detected by the MTT assay. Expression changes in liver cancer stem cell related genes (Nanog, Oct-4, Sox2, ARID1, and Wnt5b) were detected by western blot following treatment with ADM (LD50).
RESULTS: The LD50 of ADM in MHCC97-L cells was lower than that in HCCLM3 cells (0.4123 ± 0.0236 μmol/L vs 0.5259 ± 0.0125 μmol/L, P < 0.05). Wnt5b and Nanog were expressed in both MHCC97-L and HCCLM3 cells, while only Sox2 was expressed in HCCLM3 cells. However, neither ARID1A nor Oct4 was detected in these two cell lines. Genes, related to the stem cells, showed different expression in liver cancer cells with different metastatic potential following treatment with ADM (LD50). Wnt5b protein increased gradually within 4 h of ADM (LD50) treatment, while Nanog decreased (P < 0.05). After 12 h, Wnt5b decreased gradually, while Nanog increased steadily (P < 0.05). In addition, only Sox2 was expressed in HCCLM3 cells with high metastatic potential following ADM (LD50) treatment. The expression of Sox2 increased gradually with ADM (LD50) in HCCLM3 cells (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: ADM increased the death rate of MHCC97-L and HCCLM3 cells, while the growth suppressive effect of ADM was higher in MHCC97-L cells than in HCCLM3 cells.

Yang L, Perez AA, Fujie S, et al.
Wnt modulates MCL1 to control cell survival in triple negative breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:124 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) has higher rates of recurrence and distant metastasis, and poorer outcome as compared to non-TNBC. Aberrant activation of WNT signaling has been detected in TNBC, which might be important for triggering oncogenic conversion of breast epithelial cell. Therefore, we directed our focus on identifying the WNT ligand and its underlying mechanism in TNBC cells.
METHODS: We performed large-scale analysis of public microarray data to screen the WNT ligands and the clinical significance of the responsible ligand in TNBC. WNT5B was identified and its overexpression in TNBC was confirmed by immunohistochemistry staining, Western blot and ELISA. ShRNA was used to knockdown WNT5B expression (shWNT5B). Cellular functional alteration with shWNT5B treatment was determined by using wound healing assay, mammosphere assay; while cell cycle and apoptosis were examined by flowcytometry. Mitochondrial morphology was photographed by electron microscope. Biological change of mitochondria was detected by RT-PCR and oxygen consumption assay. Activation of WNT pathway and its downstream targets were evaluated by liciferase assay, immunohistochemistry staining and immunoblot analysis. Statistical methods used in the experiments besides microarray analysis was two-tailed t-test.
RESULTS: WNT5B was elevated both in the tumor and the patients' serum. Suppression of WNT5B remarkably impaired cell growth, migration and mammosphere formation. Additionally, G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and caspase-independent apoptosis was observed. Study of the possible mechanism indicated that these effects occurred through suppression of mitochondrial biogenesis, as evidenced by reduced mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) and compromised oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). In Vivo and in vitro data uncovered that WNT5B modulated mitochondrial physiology was mediated by MCL1, which was regulated by WNT/β-catenin responsive gene, Myc. Clinic data analysis revealed that both WNT5B and MCL1 are associated with enhanced metastasis and decreased disease-free survival.
CONCLUSIONS: All our findings suggested that WNT5B/MCL1 cascade is critical for TNBC and understanding its regulatory apparatus provided valuable insight into the pathogenesis of the tumor development and the guidance for targeting therapeutics.

Takeshita A, Iwai S, Morita Y, et al.
Wnt5b promotes the cell motility essential for metastasis of oral squamous cell carcinoma through active Cdc42 and RhoA.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(1):59-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
The activation of Wnt signaling has been reported in many types of squamous cell carcinoma. In this study, using human oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells with different metastatic potential, we investigated the involvement of Wnt signaling in metastasis. Further, we aimed to elucidate the characteristic biological features related to high metastatic potential and to identify new target molecules for the suppression of OSCC lymph node metastasis. We compared SAS-Venus (SAS OSCC cells expressing green fluorescent protein) and SAS-LM8, which is a highly metastatic cell line derived from SAS-Venus by in vivo selection. The SAS-LM8 cell line had greater ability of migration and invasion compared to SAS-Venus. Furthermore, a higher number of filopodia-like protrusive structures were produced in SAS-LM8 cells compared to SAS-Venus cells, and the levels of active Cdc42 and active RhoA protein were higher in SAS-LM8 cells compared to SAS-Venus cells. We did not observe any differences in the expression of Wnt/β-catenin target genes between the two cell lines; however, the mRNA levels of Wnt5b were higher in SAS-LM8 cells compared to SAS-Venus cells. To confirm the involvement of Wnt5b in migration in OSCC cells, we examined the effects of the siRNA-mediated knockdown of Wnt5b in SAS-Venus cells and SAS-LM8 cells. The siRNA treatment significantly inhibited migration and the formation of filopodia-like protrusive structures. Conversely, when stimulated with Wnt5b, the migration and formation of filopodia-like protrusions were significantly enhanced and the levels of active Cdc42 and active RhoA proteins were also increased. These results indicate that Wnt5b is involved in the migration ability of OSCC cells through active Cdc42 and RhoA.

Cha TL, Chuang MJ, Tang SH, et al.
Emodin modulates epigenetic modifications and suppresses bladder carcinoma cell growth.
Mol Carcinog. 2015; 54(3):167-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
The deregulation of epigenetics was involved in early and subsequent carcinogenic events. Reversing cancer epigenetics to restore a normal epigenetic condition could be a rational approach for cancer treatment and specialized prevention. In the present study, we found that the expression levels of two epigenetic markers, histone H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3), was low but histone H3S10 phosphorylation (pH3Ser10) was high in human bladder cancer tissues, which showed opposite expression patterns in their normal counterparts. Thus, we investigated whether a natural product, emodin, has the ability to reverse these two epigenetic modifications and inhibit bladder cancer cell growth. Emodin significantly inhibited the cell growth of four bladder cancer cell lines in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Emodin treatment did not induce specific cell cycle arrest, but it altered epigenetic modifications. Emodin treatment resulted in the suppression of pH3Ser10 and increased H3K27me3, contributing to gene silencing in bladder cancer cells. Microarray analysis demonstrated that oncogenic genes including fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) and fibroblast growth factor binding protein 1 (HBP17), RGS4, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP3), WNT5b, URB, and collagen, type VIII, alpha 1 (COL8A1) responsible for proliferation, survival, inflammation, and carcinogenesis were significantly repressed by emodin. The ChIP assays also showed that emodin increased H3K27me3 but decreased pH3Ser10 modifications on the promoters of repressed genes, which indicate that emodin reverses the cancer epigenetics towards normal epigenetic situations. In conclusion, our work demonstrates the significant anti-neoplastic activity of emodin on bladder cancer cells and elucidates the novel mechanisms of emodin-mediated epigenetic modulation of target genes. Our study warrants further investigation of emodin as an effective therapeutic or preventive agent for bladder cancer.

Páez D, Gerger A, Zhang W, et al.
Association of common gene variants in the WNT/β-catenin pathway with colon cancer recurrence.
Pharmacogenomics J. 2014; 14(2):142-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling has a central role in the development and progression of most colon cancers (CCs). Germline variants in Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes may result in altered gene function and/or activity, thereby causing inter-individual differences in relation to tumor recurrence capacity and chemoresistance. We investigated germline polymorphisms in a comprehensive panel of Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes to predict time to tumor recurrence (TTR) in patients with stage III and high-risk stage II CC. A total of 234 patients treated with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy were included in this study. Whole-blood samples were analyzed for putative functional germline polymorphisms in SFRP3, SFRP4, DKK2, DKK3, Axin2, APC, TCF7L2, WNT5B, CXXC4, NOTCH2 and GLI1 genes by PCR-based restriction fragment-length polymorphism or direct DNA sequencing. Polymorphisms with statistical significance were validated in an independent study cohort. The minor allele of WNT5B rs2010851 T>G was significantly associated with a shorter TTR (10.7 vs 4.9 years; hazard ratio: 2.48; 95% CI, 0.96-6.38; P=0.04) in high-risk stage II CC patients. This result remained significant in multivariate Cox's regression analysis. This study shows that the WNT5B germline variant rs2010851 was significantly identified as a stage-dependent prognostic marker for CC patients after 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant therapy.

Siar CH, Nagatsuka H, Han PP, et al.
Differential expression of canonical and non-canonical Wnt ligands in ameloblastoma.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2012; 41(4):332-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Canonical and non-canonical Wnt signaling pathways modulate diverse cellular processes during embryogenesis and post-natally. Their deregulations have been implicated in cancer development and progression. Wnt signaling is essential for odontogenesis. The ameloblastoma is an odontogenic epithelial neoplasm of enamel organ origin. Altered expressions of Wnts-1, -2, -5a, and -10a are detected in this tumor. The activity of other Wnt members remains unclarified.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Canonical (Wnts-1, -2, -3, -8a, -8b, -10a, and -10b), non-canonical (Wnts-4, -5a, -5b, -6, 7a, -7b, and -11), and indeterminate groups (Wnts-2b and -9b) were examined immunohistochemically in 72 cases of ameloblastoma (19 unicystic [UA], 35 solid/multicystic [SMA], eight desmoplastic [DA], and 10 recurrent [RA]).
RESULTS: Canonical Wnt proteins (except Wnt-10b) were heterogeneously expressed in ameloblastoma. Their distribution patterns were distinctive with some overlap. Protein localization was mainly membranous and/or cytoplasmic. Overexpression of Wnt-1 in most subsets (UA = 19/19; SMA = 35/35; DA = 5/8; RA = 7/10) (P < 0.05), Wnt-3 in granular cell variant (n = 3/3), and Wnt-8b in DA (n = 8/8) was key observations. Wnts-8a and -10a demonstrated enhanced expression in tumoral buddings and acanthomatous areas. Non-canonical and indeterminate Wnts were absent except for limited Wnt-7b immunoreactivity in UA (n = 1/19) and SMA (n = 1/35). Stromal components expressed variable Wnt positivity.
CONCLUSION: Differential expression of Wnt ligands in different ameloblastoma subtypes suggests that the canonical and non-canonical Wnt pathways are selectively activated or repressed depending on the tumor cell differentiation status. Canonical Wnt pathway is most likely the main transduction pathway while Wnt-1 might be the key signaling molecule involved in ameloblastoma tumorigenesis.

Maschietto M, Trapé AP, Piccoli FS, et al.
Temporal blastemal cell gene expression analysis in the kidney reveals new Wnt and related signaling pathway genes to be essential for Wilms' tumor onset.
Cell Death Dis. 2011; 2:e224 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Wilms' tumors (WTs) originate from metanephric blastema cells that are unable to complete differentiation, resulting in triphasic tumors composed of epithelial, stromal and blastemal cells, with the latter harboring molecular characteristics similar to those of the earliest kidney development stages. Precise regulation of Wnt and related signaling pathways has been shown to be crucial for correct kidney differentiation. In this study, the gene expression profile of Wnt and related pathways was assessed in laser-microdissected blastemal cells in WTs and differentiated kidneys, in human and in four temporal kidney differentiation stages (i.e. E15.5, E17.5, P1.5 and P7.5) in mice, using an orthologous cDNA microarray platform. A signaling pathway-based gene signature was shared between cells of WT and of earliest kidney differentiation stages, revealing genes involved in the interruption of blastemal cell differentiation in WT. Reverse transcription-quantitative PCR showed high robustness of the microarray data demonstrating 75 and 56% agreement in the initial and independent sample sets, respectively. The protein expression of CRABP2, IGF2, GRK7, TESK1, HDGF, WNT5B, FZD2 and TIMP3 was characterized in WTs and in a panel of human fetal kidneys displaying remarkable aspects of differentiation, which was recapitulated in the tumor. Taken together, this study reveals new genes candidate for triggering WT onset and for therapeutic treatment targets.

Deraz EM, Kudo Y, Yoshida M, et al.
MMP-10/stromelysin-2 promotes invasion of head and neck cancer.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(10):e25438 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Periostin, IFN-induced transmembrane protein 1 (IFITM1) and Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 5B (Wnt-5b) were previously identified as the invasion promoted genes of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) by comparing the gene expression profiles between parent and a highly invasive clone. We have previously reported that Periostin and IFITM1 promoted the invasion of HNSCC cells. Here we demonstrated that Wnt-5b overexpression promoted the invasion of HNSCC cells. Moreover, stromelysin-2 (matrix metalloproteinase-10; MMP-10) was identified as a common up-regulated gene among Periostin, IFITM1 and Wnt-5b overexpressing HNSCC cells by using microarray data sets. In this study, we investigated the roles of MMP-10 in the invasion of HNSCC.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: We examined the expression of MMP-10 in HNSCC cases by immunohistochemistry. High expression of MMP-10 was frequently observed and was significantly correlated with the invasiveness and metastasis in HNSCC cases. Next, we examined the roles of MMP-10 in the invasion of HNSCC cells in vitro. Ectopic overexpression of MMP-10 promoted the invasion of HNSCC cells, and knockdown of MMP-10 suppressed the invasion of HNSCC cells. Moreover, MMP-10 knockdown suppressed Periostin and Wnt-5b-promoted invasion. Interestingly, MMP-10 overexpression induced the decreased p38 activity and MMP-10 knockdown induced the increased p38 activity. In addition, treatment with a p38 inhibitor SB203580 in HNSCC cells inhibited the invasion.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that MMP-10 plays an important role in the invasion and metastasis of HNSCC, and that invasion driven by MMP-10 is partially associated with p38 MAPK inhibition. We suggest that MMP-10 can be used as a marker for prediction of metastasis in HNSCC.

Klemm F, Bleckmann A, Siam L, et al.
β-catenin-independent WNT signaling in basal-like breast cancer and brain metastasis.
Carcinogenesis. 2011; 32(3):434-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
A role of WNT signaling for primary breast cancers of the basal-like subtype and as a predictor of brain metastasis has been described. However, a responsible WNT ligand has not been identified. To further clarify this question, we comparatively investigated 22 human breast cancer brain metastases as well as the highly invasive human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 and the weakly motile MCF-7 as models for the basal-like and the luminal A subtype. WNT5A and B were found overexpressed in MDA-MB-231 cells as compared with MCF-7. This corresponded to reduction of MDA-MB-231 invasiveness by WNT inhibitors, whereas MCF-7 invasion was enhanced by recombinant WNT5B and abolished by WNT and Jun-N-terminal kinase antagonists. Expression and subcellular distribution of β-catenin remained uninfluenced. Consistently, β-catenin was not localized in the nuclei of brain metastases while there was strong nuclear c-Jun staining. Similar to MDA-MB-231, metastases showed expression of WNT5A/B and the alternative WNT receptors ROR1 and 2. These findings were validated using external gene expression datasets (Gene Expression Omnibus) of different breast cancer subtypes and brain metastases. Hierarchical cluster analysis yielded a close relation between basal-like cancers and brain metastases. Gene set enrichment analyses confirmed WNT pathway enrichment not only in basal-like primaries but also in cerebral metastases of all subtypes. In conclusion, WNT signaling seems highly relevant for basal-like and other subtypes of breast cancers metastasizing into the brain. β-catenin-independent WNT signaling, presumably via ROR1-2, plays a major role in this context.

Schiffman JD, Hodgson JG, VandenBerg SR, et al.
Oncogenic BRAF mutation with CDKN2A inactivation is characteristic of a subset of pediatric malignant astrocytomas.
Cancer Res. 2010; 70(2):512-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant astrocytomas are a deadly solid tumor in children. Limited understanding of their underlying genetic basis has contributed to modest progress in developing more effective therapies. In an effort to identify such alterations, we performed a genome-wide search for DNA copy number aberrations (CNA) in a panel of 33 tumors encompassing grade 1 through grade 4 tumors. Genomic amplifications of 10-fold or greater were restricted to grade 3 and 4 astrocytomas and included the MDM4 (1q32), PDGFRA (4q12), MET (7q21), CMYC (8q24), PVT1 (8q24), WNT5B (12p13), and IGF1R (15q26) genes. Homozygous deletions of CDKN2A (9p21), PTEN (10q26), and TP53 (17p3.1) were evident among grade 2 to 4 tumors. BRAF gene rearrangements that were indicated in three tumors prompted the discovery of KIAA1549-BRAF fusion transcripts expressed in 10 of 10 grade 1 astrocytomas and in none of the grade 2 to 4 tumors. In contrast, an oncogenic missense BRAF mutation (BRAF(V600E)) was detected in 7 of 31 grade 2 to 4 tumors but in none of the grade 1 tumors. BRAF(V600E) mutation seems to define a subset of malignant astrocytomas in children, in which there is frequent concomitant homozygous deletion of CDKN2A (five of seven cases). Taken together, these findings highlight BRAF as a frequent mutation target in pediatric astrocytomas, with distinct types of BRAF alteration occurring in grade 1 versus grade 2 to 4 tumors.

Memarian A, Hojjat-Farsangi M, Asgarian-Omran H, et al.
Variation in WNT genes expression in different subtypes of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2009; 50(12):2061-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt molecules are a family of secretory glycoproteins implicated in proliferation and differentiation of both normal and malignant cells. Despite extensive investigation of the WNT genes expression profile in various tumors, little is known about their expression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In this study, the expression profile of 14 WNT genes was investigated in a large number of Iranian patients with CLL. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR was performed on peripheral blood leukemic cells obtained from 62 patients with CLL. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from 11 age matched normal subjects served as control to determine baseline expression level of these genes. Our results have demonstrated significant up-regulation of WNT-3, WNT-4, WNT-5B, WNT-7B, WNT-9A, WNT-10A, and WNT-16B in patients with CLL compared to normal subjects (p < 0.05 to p < 0.0001). WNT gene expression analysis in different CLL subtypes showed a similar pattern of expression in progressive and indolent clinical subtypes. Over-expression of WNT-5A and WNT-9A genes was observed in patients with no mutation in their immunoglobulin (Ig) variable region heavy chain (Ig VH) genes compared to those with mutated Ig VH genes. Comparison between patients expressing VH1 (n = 9), VH3 (n = 40) and VH4 (n = 12) gene families, revealed down-regulation of WNT-3 and WNT-9A in VH3 positive patients. Our results indicate up-regulation of many members of the WNT gene family in CLL suggesting involvement of the Wnt canonical and/or noncanonical signaling pathways in CLL tumorigenesis.

Yuzugullu H, Benhaj K, Ozturk N, et al.
Canonical Wnt signaling is antagonized by noncanonical Wnt5a in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Mol Cancer. 2009; 8:90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: beta-catenin mutations that constitutively activate the canonical Wnt signaling have been observed in a subset of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). These mutations are associated with chromosomal stability, low histological grade, low tumor invasion and better patient survival. We hypothesized that canonical Wnt signaling is selectively activated in well-differentiated, but repressed in poorly differentiated HCCs. To this aim, we characterized differentiation status of HCC cell lines and compared their expression status of Wnt pathway genes, and explored their activity of canonical Wnt signaling.
RESULTS: We classified human HCC cell lines into "well-differentiated" and "poorly differentiated" subtypes, based on the expression of hepatocyte lineage, epithelial and mesenchymal markers. Poorly differentiated cell lines lost epithelial and hepatocyte lineage markers, and overexpressed mesenchymal markers. Also, they were highly motile and invasive. We compared the expression of 45 Wnt pathway genes between two subtypes. TCF1 and TCF4 factors, and LRP5 and LRP6 co-receptors were ubiquitously expressed. Likewise, six Frizzled receptors, and canonical Wnt3 ligand were expressed in both subtypes. In contrast, canonical ligand Wnt8b and noncanonical ligands Wnt4, Wnt5a, Wnt5b and Wnt7b were expressed selectively in well- and poorly differentiated cell lines, respectively. Canonical Wnt signaling activity, as tested by a TCF reporter assay was detected in 80% of well-differentiated, contrary to 14% of poorly differentiated cell lines. TCF activity generated by ectopic mutant beta-catenin was weak in poorly differentiated SNU449 cell line, suggesting a repressive mechanism. We tested Wnt5a as a candidate antagonist. It strongly inhibited canonical Wnt signaling that is activated by mutant beta-catenin in HCC cell lines.
CONCLUSION: Differential expression of Wnt ligands in HCC cells is associated with selective activation of canonical Wnt signaling in well-differentiated, and its repression in poorly differentiated cell lines. One potential mechanism of repression involved Wnt5a, acting as an antagonist of canonical Wnt signaling. Our observations support the hypothesis that Wnt pathway is selectively activated or repressed depending on differentiation status of HCC cells. We propose that canonical and noncanonical Wnt pathways have complementary roles in HCC, where the canonical signaling contributes to tumor initiation, and noncanonical signaling to tumor progression.

Morioka K, Tanikawa C, Ochi K, et al.
Orphan receptor tyrosine kinase ROR2 as a potential therapeutic target for osteosarcoma.
Cancer Sci. 2009; 100(7):1227-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcoma is the most prevalent bone malignant tumor in children and adolescents, and displays heterogeneous histology and high propensity for distant metastasis. Although adjuvant chemotherapy remarkably improved treatment outcome over the past few decades, prognosis for osteosarcoma patients with pulmonary metastasis is still unsatisfactory. To identify novel therapeutic targets for osteosarcoma, we investigated the gene expression profile of osteosarcomas by cDNA microarray analysis and found transactivation of receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 2 (ROR2) expression in the majority of osteosarcoma samples. Treatment of osteosarcoma cell lines with siRNA against ROR2 significantly inhibited cell proliferation and migration. We also identified wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 5B (WNT5B) as a putative ROR2 ligand and that the physiological interaction of WNT5B and ROR2 could enhance cell migration, indicating the possible roles of ROR2 and WNT5B in the metastatic property of osteosarcoma cells. Taken together, our findings revealed that the WNT5B/ROR2 signaling pathway is a promising therapeutic target for osteosarcoma.

Ruebel KH, Leontovich AA, Tanizaki Y, et al.
Effects of TGFbeta1 on gene expression in the HP75 human pituitary tumor cell line identified by gene expression profiling.
Endocrine. 2008; 33(1):62-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
The pathogenesis of pituitary adenomas and many of the genes influencing growth of these tumors are unknown. TGFbeta is known to inhibit proliferation of cultured anterior pituitary cells and anterior pituitary tumors, but the signal transduction pathways involved in the inhibition of growth are unclear. We treated the human HP75 pituitary cell line with 10(-9) M TGFbeta1 for 4, 24, and 96 h and performed global gene expression profiling by Affymetrix GeneChip microarray analysis. Quantitative PCR validation of specific genes involved in the TGFbeta1-induced regulation of pituitary cell growth was also done. Of the 15,000 genes queried, there were 37 genes up-regulated and 48 genes down-regulated twofold or more after 4 h of TGFbeta1 treatment. There were 121 genes up-regulated and 109 genes down-regulated twofold or more after 24 h of TGFbeta1 treatment and 112 genes up-regulated and 43 genes down-regulated twofold or more after 96 h of TGFbeta1 treatment. Galectin-3 (Gal-3) protein was decreased by TGFbeta1 treatment and several genes which interacted with Gal-3 including RUNX1 and WNT5B were up-regulated after TGFbeta1 treatment. SOX4 was also up-regulated by TGFbeta1 treatment. SMAD3, which is directly involved in the TGFbeta signal transduction pathway, was down-regulated by TGFbeta1 treatment. These findings highlight the diverse gene networks and pathways through which TGFbeta operates in its effects on pituitary tumor cells.

Sercan HO, Pehlivan M, Simsek O, et al.
Induction of apoptosis increases expression of non-canonical WNT genes in myeloid leukemia cell lines.
Oncol Rep. 2007; 18(6):1563-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
With the aim of determining the differential expression of WNT and FZD genes, before and after induction of apoptosis in BCR-ABL positive cells, we treated the myeloid cell line K562 and control cell line HL60 with imatinib mesylate and etoposide, and analyzed relative mRNA expression levels of WNT, FZD and sFRP genes under normal and apoptotic conditions by real-time RT-PCR. We observed marked increase in mRNA levels of FZD4, FZD5, FZD7 and WNT5b, correlating with apoptotic activity and independent of the agent or cell line used. Our results suggest the involvement of non-canonical Wnt signaling in executing programmed cell death in myeloid cell lines.

Katoh M
Networking of WNT, FGF, Notch, BMP, and Hedgehog signaling pathways during carcinogenesis.
Stem Cell Rev. 2007; 3(1):30-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The biological functions of some orthologs within the human genome and model-animal genomes are evolutionarily conserved, but those of others are divergent due to protein evolution and promoter evolution. Because WNT signaling molecules play key roles during embryogenesis, tissue regeneration and carcinogenesis, the author's group has carried out a human WNT-ome project for the comprehensive characterization of human genes encoding WNT signaling molecules. From 1996 to 2002, we cloned and characterized WNT2B/WNT13, WNT3, WNT3A, WNT5B, WNT6, WNT7B, WNT8A, WNT8B, WNT9A/WNT14, WNT9B/WNT14B, WNT10A, WNT10B, WNT11, FZD1, FZD2, FZD3, FZD4, FZD5, FZD6, FZD7, FZD8, FZD10, FRAT1, FRAT2, NKD1, NKD2, VANGL1, RHOU/ARHU, RHOV/ARHV, GIPC2, GIPC3, FBXW11/betaTRCP2, SOX17, TCF7L1/TCF3, and established a cDNA-PCR system for snap-shot and dynamic analyses on the WNT-transcriptome. In 2003, we identified and characterized PRICKLE1, PRICKLE2, DACT1/DAPPER1, DACT2/DAPPER2, DAAM2, and BCL9L. After completion of the human WNT-ome project, we have been working on the stem cell signaling network. WNT signals are transduced to beta-catenin, NLK, NFAT, PKC, JNK and RhoA signaling cascades. FGF20, JAG1 and DKK1 are target genes of the WNT-beta-catenin signaling cascade. Cross-talk of WNT and FGF signaling pathways potentiates beta-catenin and NFAT signaling cascades. BMP signals induce IHH upregulation in co-operation with RUNX. Hedgehog signals induce upregulation of SFRP1, JAG2 and FOXL1, and then FOXL1 induces BMP4 upregulation. The balance between WNT-FGF-Notch and BMP-Hedgehog signaling networks is important for the maintenance of homoestasis among stem and progenitor cells. Disruption of the stem cell signaling network results in pathological conditions, such as congenital diseases and cancer.

Katoh M, Katoh M
Comparative integromics on non-canonical WNT or planar cell polarity signaling molecules: transcriptional mechanism of PTK7 in colorectal cancer and that of SEMA6A in undifferentiated ES cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2007; 20(3):405-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-canonical WNT and planar cell polarity (PCP) are overlapping but distinct signaling pathways, which control convergent extension, neural tube closure, orientation of cilia and sensory hair cells, axon guidance, and cell motility. Non-canonical WNT signals, regulated by the interaction of WNT, WNT antagonist, Frizzled and ROR2, are transduced to JNK, ROCK, PKC, MAP3K7, and NFAT signaling cascades. PCP signals, regulated by the interaction of VANGL-PRICKLE complex, CELSR and Frizzled-DVL complex, are transduced to JNK, ROCK, and other uncharacterized signaling cascades. PTK7 signaling, regulated by SEMA6 and Plexin-A family members, affects PCP pathway through VANGL. Here, integrative genomic analyses on WNT5A, WNT5B, WNT11, FZD3, FZD6, ROR1, ROR2, RYK, CELSR1, CELSR2, CELSR3, VANGL1, VANGL2, PRICKLE1, PRICKLE2, PTK7, SEMA6A, SEMA6B, SEMA6C and SEMA6D were carried out. PTK7 and SEMA6A were expressed in undifferentiated embryonic stem (ES) cells, SEMA6A in endodermal progenitors, CELSR1, VANGL1 and PTK7 in gastrointestinal tumors. CELSR2, PRICKLE2 and SEMA6C were expressed in fetal brain, CELSR2, PRICKLE1 and SEMA6A in adult brain, WNT5A and CELSR3 in adult brain tumors. These facts indicate class switches of non-canonical WNT or PCP signaling molecules during embryogenesis and carcinogenesis. TCF/LEF-, SP1-, and 5 bHLH-binding sites within human PTK7 promoter were conserved in chimpanzee, rhesus monkey, mouse, and rat PTK7 orthologs, which explained the mechanism of PTK7 upregulation in colorectal cancer. NANOG-, SOX2-, and POU5F1 (OCT3/OCT4)-binding sites within intron 1 of the human SEMA6A gene were conserved in chimpanzee, rhesus monkey, mouse, and rat SEMA6A orthologs, which explained the mechanism of SEMA6A upregulation in undifferentiated ES cells. Most of non-canonical WNT or PCP signaling molecules, except PTK7 and SEMA6A, were not frequently expressed in undifferentiated human ES cells. Non-canonical WNT or PCP signaling pathway, activated to orchestrate gastrulation and neurulation, was relatively downregulated in undifferentiated ES cells derived from inner cell mass of blastocysts.

Kuorelahti A, Rulli S, Huhtaniemi I, Poutanen M
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) up-regulates wnt5b and wnt7b in the mammary gland, and hCGbeta transgenic female mice present with mammary Gland tumors exhibiting characteristics of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway activation.
Endocrinology. 2007; 148(8):3694-703 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transgenic (TG) mice expressing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) beta-subunit under the ubiquitin C promoter, presenting with a moderately elevated level of LH/hCG bioactivity develop multiple neoplasms secondary to the endocrine abnormalities, including mammary gland tumors after the age of 9 months. The increased levels of circulating estradiol, progesterone, and prolactin of the TG females after puberty boost the lobuloalveolar development in the mammary gland resulting ultimately in the formation of estrogen and progesterone receptor-negative, malignant tumors. These tumors have a similar histopathology with those observed in TG mice with activated wnt/beta-catenin pathway, showing increased expression of beta-catenin, also a common finding in human breast tumors. Transdifferentiation is observed in mammary tumors of the hCGbeta TG mice, accompanied by abnormal expression of the Wnt genes in the tumorous and nontumorous mammary gland tissue. Specifically we found increased expression of Wnt5b in the TG mammary glands at the age of 3 months and up-regulation of Wnt7b and -5b in the subsequently appearing tumors. Importantly, hCG was found to up-regulate these wnt ligands in mouse mammary gland, independent of the changes in ovarian steroidogenesis. Thus, the hCGbeta-overexpressing TG mice represent a novel model that links enhanced hCG action to dysregulated wnt signaling in the mammary gland, resulting in beta-catenin-stabilizing mammary tumorigenesis. The novel finding of hCG up-regulating wnt7b and wnt5b could contribute to pregnancy-induced breast cancer in humans.

Benhaj K, Akcali KC, Ozturk M
Redundant expression of canonical Wnt ligands in human breast cancer cell lines.
Oncol Rep. 2006; 15(3):701-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human breast cancer displays nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin and induction of cyclin D1 expression, which suggests that canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is activated. In other cancers, the activation of canonical wnt/beta-catenin signaling is associated with APC, CTNNB1 or AXIN1 mutations. However, these mutations are rare or absent in breast cancer. In search of alternative mechanisms, we performed comprehensive expression analysis of Wnt signaling molecules, including 19 Wnt ligands, ten Frizzled receptors, two co-receptors and four Lef/TCF transcription factors in immortalized normal human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC) and six breast cancer cell lines. HMEC expressed all Frizzled receptors except FZD9 and FZD10. They also expressed LRP5 and LRP6 co-receptors, as well as four Lef/TCF transcription factors. HMEC cells also expressed many Wnt ligands, including WNT1, WNT2B, WNT3, WNT5A, WNT5B, WNT7B, WNT9A, WNT10B and WNT16. Redundant expression of Wnt ligands, Frizzled receptors, co-receptors and Lef/TCF transcription factors was maintained in breast cancer cell lines with some exceptions. The most important changes in cancer cell lines concerned Wnt ligand expression. We noticed that most breast cancer cell lines overexpressed WNT3A, WNT4, WNT6, WNT8B, WNT9A and WNT10B. In contrast, the expression of WNT5A, WNT5B and WNT16 was usually down-regulated. It is noteworthy that all six Wnt ligands that are overexpressed in malignant cell lines are known to signal through the canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway, whereas down-regulated WNT5A and WNT5B ligands signal via the non-canonical pathway. The expression of both canonical Wnt ligands and most Frizzled receptors in breast cancer cell lines suggests that canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is activated in these cell lines by an autocrine/paracrine mechanism. In support of this prediction, we observed nuclear beta-catenin accumulation and cyclin D1 induction in breast cancer cell lines, but not in HMEC. These results imply that ligand-dependent canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is active in human breast cancer.

Katoh M
WNT/PCP signaling pathway and human cancer (review).
Oncol Rep. 2005; 14(6):1583-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
WNT/planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling pathway controls tissue polarity and cell movement through the activation of RHOA, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and nemo-like kinase (NLK) signaling cascades. PCP is induced in Drosophila by the asymmetrical localization of Frizzled-Dishevelled-Diego-Starry night (Flamingo) complex and Van Gogh (Strabismus)-Prickle complex. Here, WNT/PCP signaling pathway implicated in human carcinogenesis is reviewed. Human WNT5A, WNT5B, and WNT11 are representative non-canonical WNTs transducing PCP signals through FZD3 or FZD6 receptors, and ROR1, ROR2 or PTK7 co-receptors. Human VANGL1, VANGL2 (Van Gogh homologs), CELSR1, CELSR2, CELSR3 (Starry night homologs), DVL1, DVL2, DVL3 (Dishevelled homologs), PRICKLE1, PRICKLE2 (Prickle homologs), and ANKRD6 (Diego homolog) are core PCP signaling molecules. MAGI3 assembles FZD, VANGL, PTEN, and adhesion molecules. Dishevelled-dependent WNT/PCP signals are transduced to the RHOA signaling cascade through Formin homology proteins DAAM1 and DAAM2, and to the JNK signaling cascade through MAPKKKs and MAPKK4/7. Dishevelled-independent WNT/ PCP signals are transduced to the NLK signaling cascade through MAP3K7 (TAK1). ANKRD6, NKD1 and NKD2 induce class switch from the WNT/GSK3beta signaling pathway to the WNT/PCP signaling pathway. WNT5A is up-regulated in various types of human cancer, such as gastric cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma. FZD3/FZD6 receptor and ROR2 co-receptor transduce WNT5A signal in gastric cancer. Aberrant activation of WNT/PCP signaling pathway in human cancer leads to more malignant phenotypes, such as abnormal tissue polarity, invasion, and metastasis. cDNA-PCR, microarray or ELISA reflecting aberrant activation of WNT/PCP signaling pathway could be developed as novel cancer prognostics. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and copy number polymorphism (CNP) of WNT/PCP signaling molecules mentioned above are suitable for use in screening of cancer predisposition, especially for gastric cancer. Antibody, RNAi, or small molecule compounds to regulate the function of WNT/PCP signaling molecules mentioned above are good candidates for development as novel cancer therapeutics.

Mangioni S, Viganò P, Lattuada D, et al.
Overexpression of the Wnt5b gene in leiomyoma cells: implications for a role of the Wnt signaling pathway in the uterine benign tumor.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005; 90(9):5349-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Uterine leiomyomas are the most common tumors in the human female pelvis and the leading indication for pelvic surgery. The molecular causes of the disease remain unknown.
OBJECTIVE: Using an oligonucleotide microarray-based hybridization analysis, we observed that a Wnt family member transcript, Wnt5b, was overexpressed in smooth muscle cells (SMC) derived from leiomyomas when compared with matched myometrial cells. Based on this finding and on previous observations, we have hypothesized that altered expression of specific Wnt family members might be involved in leiomyoma formation and/or growth.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The expression patterns of two members of the Wnt pathway, Wnt5b and secreted frizzled related protein (sFRP)1, were evaluated in myometrial SMC (n = 22) and in leiomyoma cells (n = 27) by real-time quantitative PCR. In addition, regulation of expression of the two molecules was examined.
RESULTS: Compared with myometrial SMC, cells derived from leiomyomas had significantly higher levels of both Wnt5b and sFRP1 transcripts. When the data were analyzed as a function of the phase of the menstrual cycle, no significant difference in sFRP1 mRNA levels could be detected, whereas levels of Wnt5b transcript were significantly higher in the secretory phase in myometrial cells. Treatment with 9-cis retinoic acid significantly inhibited Wnt5b expression in myometrial SMC but not in their leiomyoma counterparts.
CONCLUSIONS: Specific Wnt signaling genes are overexpressed in leiomyoma cells. Moreover, in these cells, the regulation of Wnt5b expression by retinoids appears to be attenuated.

Lin-Marq N, Borel C, Antonarakis SE
Peutz-Jeghers LKB1 mutants fail to activate GSK-3beta, preventing it from inhibiting Wnt signaling.
Mol Genet Genomics. 2005; 273(2):184-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) is caused by germline mutations in the LKB1 gene, which encodes a serine-threonine kinase that regulates cell proliferation and polarity. This autosomal dominant disorder is characterized by mucocutaneous melanin pigmentation, multiple gastrointestinal hamartomatous polyposis and an increased risk of developing various neoplasms. To understand the molecular pathogenesis of PJS phenotypes, we used microarrays to analyze gene expression profiles in proliferating HeLa cells transduced with lentiviral vectors expressing wild type or mutant LKB1 proteins. We show that gene expression is differentially affected by mutations that impair the kinase activity (K78I) or alter the cellular localization of the LKB1 protein. However, both mutations abrogate the ability of LKB1 to up-regulate the transcription of several genes involved in Wnt signaling, including DKK3, WNT5B and FZD2. In addition-and in contrast to the wild type protein-these LKB1 mutants fail to activate the GSK-3beta kinase, which otherwise phosphorylates beta-catenin. The increase in beta-catenin phosphorylation that occurs upon expression of wild-type LKB1 results in transcriptional inhibition of a canonical Wnt reporter gene. This suggests that pathogenic LKB1 mutations that lead to activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway could contribute to the cancer predisposition of PJS patients.

Milovanovic T, Planutis K, Nguyen A, et al.
Expression of Wnt genes and frizzled 1 and 2 receptors in normal breast epithelium and infiltrating breast carcinoma.
Int J Oncol. 2004; 25(5):1337-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt genes encode a family of related, secreted proteins which initiate a signal cascade upon binding to cell surface receptor molecules. The signaling pathway has been shown to be critical for normal growth and development in model organisms and is implicated in the genesis of numerous human cancers. Wnt proteins regulate mammary development in the mouse but their precise role in normal breast development and malignant transformation in humans remains poorly defined. In this study, we have examined the expression of several Wnt ligands by in situ anti-sense RNA hybridization in normal and malignant human breast tissue, as well as in several estrogen-responsive and estrogen-independent human breast cancer cell lines. The specific Wnt genes tested included Wnt1, Wnt2, Wnt4, Wnt5a, Wnt5b, Wnt6, Wnt7b and Wnt10b. We have also studied the expression of frizzled receptors 1 and 2 by immunohistochemistry in these tissues. Our results indicate that several of the Wnt ligands, especially Wnt1 and Wnt6, are strongly expressed in both normal and malignant breast tissue and that Wnt7b is down-regulated in breast cancer, compared to normal breast epithelium. The expression of frizzled 1 and 2 receptors was found to be up-regulated in breast cancer. These studies provide additional support to the hypothesis that the Wnt signaling pathway is involved in human breast cancer.

Lu D, Zhao Y, Tawatao R, et al.
Activation of the Wnt signaling pathway in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004; 101(9):3118-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by an accumulation of mature, functionally incompetent B cells. Wnts are a large family of secreted glycoproteins involved in cell proliferation, differentiation, and oncogenesis. The classical Wnt signaling cascade inhibits the activity of the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase-3beta, augmenting beta-catenin translocation to the nucleus, and the transcription of target genes. Little is known about the potential roles of Wnt signaling in CLL. In this study, we quantified the gene expression profiles of the Wnt family, and their cognate frizzled (Fzd) receptors in primary CLL cells, and determined the role of Wnt signaling in promoting CLL cell survival. Wnt3, Wnt5b, Wnt6, Wnt10a, Wnt14, and Wnt16, as well as the Wnt receptor Fzd3, were highly expressed in CLL, compared with normal B cells. Three lines of evidence suggested that the Wnt signaling pathway was active in CLL. First, the Wnt/beta-catenin-regulated transcription factor lymphoid-enhancing factor-1, and its downstream target cyclin D1, were overexpressed in CLL. Second, a pharmacological inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta, SB-216763, activated beta-catenin-mediated transcription, and enhanced the survival of CLL lymphocytes. Third, Wnt/beta-catenin signaling was diminished by an analog of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (R-etodolac), at concentrations that increased apoptosis of CLL cells. Taken together, these results indicate that Wnt signaling genes are overexpressed and are active in CLL. Uncontrolled Wnt signaling may contribute to the defect in apoptosis that characterizes this malignancy.

Katoh M
Expression and regulation of WNT1 in human cancer: up-regulation of WNT1 by beta-estradiol in MCF-7 cells.
Int J Oncol. 2003; 22(1):209-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
WNT family of secreted-type glycoproteins play key roles in carcinogenesis and embryogenesis. We have cloned and characterized human WNT2B/WNT13, WNT3, WNT3A, WNT5B, WNT6, WNT7B, WNT8A, WNT8B, WNT10A, WNT10B, WNT11, WNT14 and WNT14B/WNT15 using bioinformatics and cDNA-PCR, and also reported frequent up-regulation of WNT2 in primary gastric cancer. Here, expression and regulation of WNT1 in human cancer were investigated using cDNA-PCR. WNT1 mRNA was relatively highly expressed in OKAJIMA cells (gastric cancer) and BxPC-3 cells (pancreatic cancer). Expression of WNT1 mRNA was up-regulated in 5 out of 10 cases of primary gastric cancer. Effects of beta-estradiol on expression of human WNT1 in MCF-7 cells (breast cancer) was next investigated, because mouse Wnt-1 induces mammary carcinogenesis even in estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) knockout mice. Expression of WNT1 mRNA was significantly up-regulated by beta-estradiol in MCF-7 cells. WNT1 was found to be one of estrogen target genes in human MCF-7 cells, which in part explains Wnt1-induced mammary carcinogenesis in ERalpha knockout mice.

Kirikoshi H, Katoh M
Expression of WNT7A in human normal tissues and cancer, and regulation of WNT7A and WNT7B in human cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2002; 21(4):895-900 [PubMed] Related Publications
WNT signals are transduced through seven-transmembrane-type WNT receptors encoded by Frizzled (FZD) genes to the beta-catenin - TCF pathway, the JNK pathway or the Ca2+-releasing pathway. WNT signaling molecules are potent targets for diagnosis of cancer (susceptibility, metastasis, and prognosis), for prevention and treatment of cancer, and for regenerative medicine or tissue engineering. We have so far cloned and characterized human WNT signaling molecules WNT2B/WNT13, WNT3, WNT3A, WNT5B, WNT6, WNT7B, WNT8A, WNT8B, WNT10A, WNT10B, WNT11, WNT14, WNT14B/WNT15, FZD1, FZD2, FZD3, FZD4, FZD5, FZD6, FZD7, FZD8, FZD10, FRAT1, FRAT2, NKD1, NKD2, VANGL1/STB2, ARHU/WRCH1, ARHV/WRCH2, GIPC2, GIPC3, betaTRCP2/FBXW1B, SOX17, and TCF-3 using bioinformatics, cDNA-library screening, and cDNA-PCR. Here, expression of WNT7A in human normal tissues and cancer, and regulation of WNT7A and WNT7B in human cancer were investigated. WNT7A was highly expressed in fetal lung, adult testis, lymph node, and peripheral blood leukocytes. WNT7A was relatively highly expressed in temporal lobe, occipital lobe, parietal lobe, paracentral gyrus of cerebral cortex, caudate nucleus, hippocampus, medulla oblongata and putamen within adult brain. WNT7A was highly expressed in SW480 (colorectal cancer), BxPC-3 and Hs766T (pancreatic cancer), and was also expressed in MKN7 and MKN45 (gastric cancer). WNT7B rather than WNT7A was expressed in MCF-7 (breast cancer) and NT2 (embryonal tumor). beta-estradiol did not affect expression levels of WNT7A and WNT7B in MCF-7 cells. WNT7B, but not WNT7A, was slightly up-regulated by all-trans retinoic acid in NT2 cells.

Kirikoshi H, Katoh M
Expression of ST7R (ST7-like, ST7L) in normal tissues and cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2002; 21(1):193-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have recently cloned and characterized ST7R (ST7-like, ST7L), WNT3, WNT3A, WNT5B, WNT6, WNT7B, WNT8A, WNT8B, WNT10A, WNT10B, WNT11, WNT14, WNT14B/WNT15, NKD1, NKD2, ARHU/WRCH1, ARHV/WRCH2, and VANGL1/STB2 using bioinformatics, cDNA-PCR and RACE. ST7R is a paralog of tumor suppressor gene ST7 in the human genome. ST7R gene is clustered with WNT2B gene in human chromo-some 1p13 region, while ST7 gene is clustered with WNT2 gene in human chromosome 7q31 region. Multiple ST7R mRNAs (ST7R1-ST7R4) are transcribed due to alternative splicing. ST7R4 is divergent from ST7R1-ST7R3 in the C-terminal region. Here, we investigated expression of ST7R mRNAs in normal human tissues and human cancer. Northern blot analysis with S7S1 probe corresponding to ST7R1, ST7R2 and ST7R3 isoforms detected 4.2 kb ST7R mRNA in various normal tissues, and also large amounts of 2.2-2.4 kb ST7R mRNAs in testis. Northern blot analysis with S7S4 probe corresponding to ST7R4 isoform detected 2.0 kb ST7R mRNA in testis. Expression of ST7R mRNAs in human cancer was next investigated using cDNA-PCR. Although ST7R mRNAs were almost ubiquitously expressed in 7 gastric cancer cell lines, expression levels of ST7R mRNAs were relatively lower in TMK1 cells. ST7R mRNAs were expressed in most cases of primary gastric cancer, and were up-regulated in 2 out of 10 cases of primary gastric cancer. This is the first report on expression analyses on ST7R.

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