WNT7A

Gene Summary

Gene:WNT7A; wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 7A
Location:3p25
Summary:This gene is a member of the WNT gene family, which consists of structurally related genes that 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 involved in the development of the anterior-posterior axis in the female reproductive tract, and also plays a critical role in uterine smooth muscle pattering and maintenance of adult uterine function. Mutations in this gene are associated with Fuhrmann and Al-Awadi/Raas-Rothschild/Schinzel phocomelia syndromes. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein Wnt-7a
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 25 June, 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 25 June 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.

  • Messenger RNA
  • Breast Cancer
  • Young Adult
  • RTPCR
  • TCF Transcription Factors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Cell Line
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Lung Cancer
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Base Sequence
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Transfection
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Proteins
  • Tumor Markers
  • Disease Progression
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Genetic Markers
  • Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Signal Transduction
  • Chromosome 3
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Epigenetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Methylation
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • VHL
  • Ovarian Cancer
Tag cloud generated 25 June, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: WNT7A (cancer-related)

Itesako T, Seki N, Yoshino H, et al.
The microRNA expression signature of bladder cancer by deep sequencing: the functional significance of the miR-195/497 cluster.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e84311 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Current genome-wide microRNA (miRNA) expression signature analysis using deep sequencing technologies can drive the discovery of novel cancer pathways regulated by oncogenic and/or tumor suppressive miRNAs. We determined the genome-wide miRNA expression signature in bladder cancer (BC) by deep sequencing technology. A total of ten small RNA libraries were sequenced (five BCs and five samples of histologically normal bladder epithelia (NBE)), and 13,190,619 to 18,559,060 clean small RNA reads were obtained. A total of 933 known miRNAs and 17 new miRNA candidates were detected in this analysis. Among the known miRNAs, a total of 60 miRNAs were significantly downregulated in BC compared with NBE. We also found that several miRNAs, such as miR-1/133a, miR-206/133b, let-7c/miR-99a, miR-143/145 and miR-195/497, were located close together at five distinct loci and constituted clustered miRNAs. Among these clustered miRNAs, we focused on the miR-195/497 cluster because this clustered miRNA had not been analyzed in BC. Transfection of mature miR-195 or miR-497 in two BC cell lines (BOY and T24) significantly inhibited cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion, suggesting that the miR-195/497 cluster functioned as tumor suppressors in BC. Regarding the genes targeted by the miR-195/497 cluster, the TargetScan algorithm showed that 6,730 genes were putative miR-195/497 targets, and 113 significantly enriched signaling pathways were identified in this analysis. The "Pathways in cancer" category was the most enriched, involving 104 candidate target genes. Gene expression data revealed that 27 of 104 candidate target genes were actually upregulated in BC clinical specimens. Luciferase reporter assays and Western blotting demonstrated that BIRC5 and WNT7A were directly targeted by miR-195/497. In conclusion, aberrant expression of clustered miRNAs was identified by deep sequencing, and downregulation of miR-195/497 contributed to BC progression and metastasis. Tumor suppressive miRNA-mediated cancer pathways provide new insights into the potential mechanisms of BC oncogenesis.

Stewart DJ
Wnt signaling pathway in non-small cell lung cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106(1):djt356 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin alterations are prominent in human malignancies. In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), β-catenin and APC mutations are uncommon, but Wnt signaling is important in NSCLC cell lines, and Wnt inhibition reduces proliferation. Overexpression of Wnt-1, -2, -3, and -5a and of Wnt-pathway components Frizzled-8, Dishevelled, Porcupine, and TCF-4 is common in resected NSCLC and is associated with poor prognosis. Conversely, noncanonical Wnt-7a suppresses NSCLC development and is often downregulated. Although β-catenin is often expressed in NSCLCs, it was paradoxically associated with improved prognosis in some series, possibly because of E-cadherin interactions. Downregulation of Wnt inhibitors (eg, by hypermethylation) is common in NSCLC tumor cell lines and resected samples; may be associated with high stage, dedifferentiation, and poor prognosis; and has been reported for AXIN, sFRPs 1-5, WIF-1, Dkk-1, Dkk-3, HDPR1, RUNX3, APC, CDX2, DACT2, TMEM88, Chibby, NKD1, EMX2, ING4, and miR-487b. AXIN is also destabilized by tankyrases, and GSK3β may be inactivated through phosphorylation by EGFR. Preclinically, restoration of Wnt inhibitor function is associated with reduced Wnt signaling, decreased cell proliferation, and increased apoptosis. Wnt signaling may also augment resistance to cisplatin, docetaxel, and radiotherapy, and Wnt inhibitors may restore sensitivity. Overall, available data indicate that Wnt signaling substantially impacts NSCLC tumorigenesis, prognosis, and resistance to therapy, with loss of Wnt signaling inhibitors by promoter hypermethylation or other mechanisms appearing to be particularly important. Wnt pathway antagonists warrant exploration clinically in NSCLC. Agents blocking selected specific β-catenin interactions and approaches to increase expression of downregulated Wnt inhibitors may be of particular interest.

Avasarala S, Bikkavilli RK, Van Scoyk M, et al.
Heterotrimeric G-protein, Gα16, is a critical downstream effector of non-canonical Wnt signaling and a potent inhibitor of transformed cell growth in non small cell lung cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(10):e76895 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) are the largest family of cell surface molecules that play important role/s in a number of biological and pathological processes including cancers. Earlier studies have highlighted the importance of Wnt7a signaling via its cognate receptor Frizzled9, a GPCR, in inhibition of cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and reversal of transformed phenotype in non small cell lung cancer primarily through activation of the tumor suppressor, PPARγ. However, the G-protein effectors that couple to this important tumor suppressor pathway have not been identified, and are of potential therapeutic interest. In this study, by using two independent Wnt7a/Frizzled9-specific read-outs, we identify Gα16 as a novel downstream effector of Wnt7a/Frizzled9 signaling. Interestingly, Gα16 expression is severely down-regulated, both at the messenger RNA levels and protein levels, in many non small cell lung cancer cell lines. Additionally, through gene-specific knock-downs and expression of GTPase-deficient forms (Q212L) of Gα16, we also establish Gα16 as a novel regulator of non small cell lung cancer cell proliferation and anchorage-independent cell growth. Taken together, our data not only establish the importance of Gα16 as a critical downstream effector of the non-canonical Wnt signaling pathway but also as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of non small cell lung cancer.

Xiang X, Deng Z, Zhuang X, et al.
Grhl2 determines the epithelial phenotype of breast cancers and promotes tumor progression.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(12):e50781 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Until now the essential transcription factor that determines the epithelial phenotype of breast cancer has not been identified and its role in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and tumor progression remain unclear. Here, by analyzing large expression profiles of human breast cancer cells, we found an extraordinary correlation between the expression of Grainyhead transcription factor Grhl2 and epithelial marker E-cadherin. Knockdown of Grhl2 expression by shRNA in human mammary epithelial cell MCF10A leads to down-regulation of E-cadherin and EMT. Grhl2 is down-regulated in disseminated cancer cells that have undergone EMT, and over-expression of Grhl2 is sufficient to induce epithelial gene expression. Large clinical datasets reveal that expression of Grhl2 is significantly associated with poor relapse free survival and increased risk of metastasis in breast cancer patients. In mouse models, over-expression of Grhl2 significantly promotes tumor growth and metastasis. Further testing of several Grhl2 regulated genes leads to the same conclusions that the tumorigenic and metastatic potentials of tumor cells are linked to epithelial phenotype but not mesenchymal phenotype. In conclusion, our findings indicate that Grhl2 plays an essential role in the determination of epithelial phenotype of breast cancers, EMT and tumor progression.

Zhang M, Chan MH, Tu WJ, et al.
Using the theory of coevolution to predict protein-protein interactions in non-small cell lung cancer.
Chin J Cancer. 2013; 32(2):91-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Systems biology has become an effective approach for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of lung cancer. In this study, sequences of 100 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)-related proteins were downloaded from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) databases. The Theory of Coevolution was then used to build a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of NSCLC. Adopting the reverse thinking approach, we analyzed the NSCLC proteins one at a time. Fifteen key proteins were identified and categorized into a special protein family F(K), which included Cyclin D1 (CCND1), E-cadherin (CDH1), Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A), chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 (CXCL12), epidermal growth factor (EGF), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), TNF receptor superfamily, member 6(FAS), FK506 binding protein 12-rapamycin associated protein 1 (FRAP1), O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), parkinson protein 2, E3 ubiquitin protein ligase (PARK2), phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), calcium channel voltage-dependent alpha 2/delta subunit 2 (CACNA2D2), tubulin beta class I (TUBB), SWI/SNF-related, matrix-associated, actin-dependent regulator of chromatin, subfamily a, member 2 (SMARCA2), and wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 7A (WNT7A). Seven key nodes of the sub-network were identified, which included PARK2, WNT7A, SMARCA2, FRAP1, CDKN2A, CCND1, and EGFR. The PPI predictions of EGFR-EGF, PARK2-FAS, PTEN-FAS, and CACNA2D2-CDH1 were confirmed experimentally by retrieving the Biological General Repository for Interaction Datasets (BioGRID) and PubMed databases. We proposed that the 7 proteins could serve as potential diagnostic molecular markers for NSCLC. In accordance with the developmental mode of lung cancer established by Sekine et al., we assumed that the occurrence and development of lung cancer were linked not only to gene loss in the 3p region (WNT7A, 3p25) and genetic mutations in the 9p region but also to similar events in the regions of 1p36.2 (FRAP1), 6q25.2-q27 (PARK2), and 11q13 (CCND1). Lastly, the invasion or metastasis of lung cancer happened.

Kondratov AG, Kvasha SM, Stoliar LA, et al.
Alterations of the WNT7A gene in clear cell renal cell carcinomas.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(10):e47012 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
WNT7A (wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 7A) is a known tumor suppressor gene of non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) and is frequently inactivated due to CpG-island hypermethylation in human cancers. The members of WNT family are involved in cell signaling and play crucial roles in cancer development. In the present work hypermethylation of the WNT7A gene was detected in 66% (29/44) of analyzed clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) using methyl-specific PCR (MSP). Moreover, bisulfite sequencing confirmed intensive hypermethylation of the 5'-CpG island of the WNT7A gene. Methylation analysis revealed positive correlations between tumor stage, Fuhrman nuclear grade and WNT7A hypermethylation. Additionally, restoration of WNT7A gene expression in the A498 cell line by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment confirmed a direct contribution of hypermethylation in silencing of the WNT7A gene. High frequency of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) was demonstrated on chromosome 3p25 in regions surrounding the WNT7A gene. The frequent down-regulation of WNT7A gene expression was detected in 88% (15/17) of clear cell RCCs. We have also shown that the WNT7A gene possesses tumor suppression function by colony-formation and cell proliferation assays in RCC cell lines. In summary, the WNT7A gene is inactivated by genetic/epigenetic alterations in clear cell RCC and demonstrates tumor suppressor properties.

Asuthkar S, Gondi CS, Nalla AK, et al.
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR)-mediated regulation of WNT/β-catenin signaling is enhanced in irradiated medulloblastoma cells.
J Biol Chem. 2012; 287(24):20576-89 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is known to promote invasion, migration, and metastasis in cancer cells. In this report, we showed that ionizing radiation (IR)-induced uPAR has a role in WNT-β-catenin signaling and mediates induction of cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties in medulloblastoma cell lines UW228 and D283. We observed that IR induced the expression of uPAR and CSC markers, such as Musashi-1 and CD44, and activated WNT-7a-β-catenin signaling molecules. Overexpression of uPAR alone or with IR treatment led to increased WNT-7a-β-catenin-TCF/LEF-mediated transactivation, thereby promoting cancer stemness. In contrast, treatment with shRNA specific for uPAR (pU) suppressed WNT-7a-β-catenin-TCF/LEF-mediated transactivation both in vitro and in vivo. Quercetin, a potent WNT/β-catenin inhibitor, suppressed uPAR and uPAR-mediated WNT/β-catenin activation, and furthermore, addition of recombinant human WNT-7a protein induced uPAR, indicating the existence of a mutual regulatory relationship between uPAR and WNT/β-catenin signaling. We showed that uPAR was physically associated with the WNT effector molecule β-catenin on the membrane, cytoplasm, and nucleus of IR-treated cells and CSC. Most interestingly, we demonstrated for the first time that localization of uPAR in the nucleus was associated with transcription factors (TF) and their specific response elements. We observed from uPAR-ChIP, TF protein, and protein/DNA array analyses that uPAR associates with activating enhancer-binding protein 2α (AP2a) and mediates β-catenin gene transcription. Moreover, association of uPAR with the β-catenin·TCF/LEF complex and various other TF involved during embryonic development and cancer indicates that uPAR is a potent activator of stemness, and targeting of uPAR in combination with radiation has significant therapeutic implications.

Dmitriev AA, Kashuba VI, Haraldson K, et al.
Genetic and epigenetic analysis of non-small cell lung cancer with NotI-microarrays.
Epigenetics. 2012; 7(5):502-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study aimed to clarify genetic and epigenetic alterations that occur during lung carcinogenesis and to design perspective sets of newly identified biomarkers. The original method includes chromosome 3 specific NotI-microarrays containing 180 NotI clones associated with genes for hybridization with 40 paired normal/tumor DNA samples of primary lung tumors: 28 squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and 12 adenocarcinomas (ADC). The NotI-microarray data were confirmed by qPCR and bisulfite sequencing analyses. Forty-four genes showed methylation and/or deletions in more than 15% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) samples. In general, SCC samples were more frequently methylated/deleted than ADC. Moreover, the SCC alterations were observed already at stage I of tumor development, whereas in ADC many genes showed tumor progression specific methylation/deletions. Among genes frequently methylated/deleted in NSCLC, only a few were already known tumor suppressor genes: RBSP3 (CTDSPL), VHL and THRB. The RPL32, LOC285205, FGD5 and other genes were previously not shown to be involved in lung carcinogenesis. Ten methylated genes, i.e., IQSEC1, RBSP3, ITGA 9, FOXP1, LRRN1, GNAI2, VHL, FGD5, ALDH1L1 and BCL6 were tested for expression by qPCR and were found downregulated in the majority of cases. Three genes (RBSP3, FBLN2 and ITGA9) demonstrated strong cell growth inhibition activity. A comprehensive statistical analysis suggested the set of 19 gene markers, ANKRD28, BHLHE40, CGGBP1, RBSP3, EPHB1, FGD5, FOXP1, GORASP1/TTC21, IQSEC1, ITGA9, LOC285375, LRRC3B, LRRN1, MITF, NKIRAS1/RPL15, TRH, UBE2E2, VHL, WNT7A, to allow early detection, tumor progression, metastases and to discriminate between SCC and ADC with sensitivity and specificity of 80-100%.

Ochoa-Hernández AB, Ramos-Solano M, Meza-Canales ID, et al.
Peripheral T-lymphocytes express WNT7A and its restoration in leukemia-derived lymphoblasts inhibits cell proliferation.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: WNT7a, a member of the Wnt ligand family implicated in several developmental processes, has also been reported to be dysregulated in some types of tumors; however, its function and implication in oncogenesis is poorly understood. Moreover, the expression of this gene and the role that it plays in the biology of blood cells remains unclear. In addition to determining the expression of the WNT7A gene in blood cells, in leukemia-derived cell lines, and in samples of patients with leukemia, the aim of this study was to seek the effect of this gene in proliferation.
METHODS: We analyzed peripheral blood mononuclear cells, sorted CD3 and CD19 cells, four leukemia-derived cell lines, and blood samples from 14 patients with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and 19 clinically healthy subjects. Reverse transcription followed by quantitative Real-time Polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis were performed to determine relative WNT7A expression. Restoration of WNT7a was done employing a lentiviral system and by using a recombinant human protein. Cell proliferation was measured by addition of WST-1 to cell cultures.
RESULTS: WNT7a is mainly produced by CD3 T-lymphocytes, its expression decreases upon activation, and it is severely reduced in leukemia-derived cell lines, as well as in the blood samples of patients with ALL when compared with healthy controls (p ≤0.001). By restoring WNT7A expression in leukemia-derived cells, we were able to demonstrate that WNT7a inhibits cell growth. A similar effect was observed when a recombinant human WNT7a protein was used. Interestingly, restoration of WNT7A expression in Jurkat cells did not activate the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first report evidencing quantitatively decreased WNT7A levels in leukemia-derived cells and that WNT7A restoration in T-lymphocytes inhibits cell proliferation. In addition, our results also support the possible function of WNT7A as a tumor suppressor gene as well as a therapeutic tool.

Yoshioka S, King ML, Ran S, et al.
WNT7A regulates tumor growth and progression in ovarian cancer through the WNT/β-catenin pathway.
Mol Cancer Res. 2012; 10(3):469-82 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Abnormal activation the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway has been associated with ovarian carcinomas, but a specific WNT ligand and pertinent downstream mechanisms are not fully understood. In this study, we found abundant WNT7A in the epithelium of serous ovarian carcinomas, but not detected in borderline and benign tumors, normal ovary, or endometrioid carcinomas. To characterize the role of WNT7A in ovarian tumor growth and progression, nude mice were injected either intraperitoneally or subcutaneously with WNT7A knocked down SKOV3.ip1 and overexpressed SKOV3 cells. In the intraperitoneal group, mice receiving SKOV3.ip1 cells with reduced WNT7A expression developed significantly fewer tumor lesions. Gross and histologic examination revealed greatly reduced invasion of WNT7A knockdown cells into intestinal mesentery and serosa compared with the control cells. Tumor growth was regulated by loss or overexpression of WNT7A in mice receiving subcutaneous injection as well. In vitro analysis of cell function revealed that cell proliferation, adhesion, and invasion were regulated by WNT7A. The activity of the T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor (TCF/LEF) reporter was stimulated by overexpression of WNT7A in ovarian cancer cells. Cotransfection with WNT7A and FZD5 receptor further increased activity, and this effect was inhibited by cotransfection with SFRP2 or dominant negative TCF4. Overexpression of WNT7A stimulated matrix metalloproteinase 7 (MMP7) promoter, and mutation of TCF-binding sites in MMP7 promoter confirmed that activation of MMP7 promoter by WNT7A was mediated by β-catenin/TCF signaling. Collectively, these results suggest that reexpression of WNT7A during malignant transformation of ovarian epithelial cells plays a critical role in ovarian cancer progression mediated by WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway.

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.

Kurasawa Y, Kozaki K, Pimkhaokham A, et al.
Stabilization of phenotypic plasticity through mesenchymal-specific DNA hypermethylation in cancer cells.
Oncogene. 2012; 31(15):1963-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has a crucial role in normal and disease processes including tumor progression. In this study, we first classified epithelial-like and mesenchymal-like oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cell lines based on expression profiles of typical EMT-related genes using a panel of 18 OSCC cell lines. Then, we performed methylation-based and expression-based analyses of components of the Wnt signaling pathway, and identified WNT7A and WNT10A as genes silenced by mesenchymal-specific DNA hypermethylation in OSCCs. A significant association was revealed between some clinicopathological findings and the DNA methylation status of WNT7A (normal vs tumor, P=0.007; T1-2 vs T3-4, P=0.040; I-III vs IV, P=0.016) and WNT10A (N0-N1 vs N2-N3, P=0.046) in the advanced stages of OSCC. Moreover, we found that E-cadherin expression in cancer cells may be positively regulated by WNT7A, whose expression is negatively regulated by mesenchymal-specific DNA hypermethylation or ZEB1 in mesenchymal-like OSCC cells. Our findings indicate that epithelial-specific gene silencing through mesenchymal-specific DNA hypermethylation may stabilize the phenotypic plasticity of cancer cells during EMT/MET.

Rieger ME, Sims AH, Coats ER, et al.
The embryonic transcription cofactor LBH is a direct target of the Wnt signaling pathway in epithelial development and in aggressive basal subtype breast cancers.
Mol Cell Biol. 2010; 30(17):4267-79 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Limb-bud and heart (LBH) is a novel key transcriptional regulator of vertebrate development. However, the molecular mechanisms upstream of LBH and its role in adult development are unknown. Here we show that in epithelial development, LBH expression is tightly controlled by Wnt signaling. LBH is transcriptionally induced by the canonical Wnt pathway, as evident by the presence of conserved functional T-cell factor (TCF)/lymphoid enhancer-binding factor (LEF) binding sites in the LBH locus and rapid beta-catenin-dependent upregulation of endogenous LBH by Wnt3a. In contrast, LBH induction by Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is inhibited by Wnt7a, which in limb development signals through a noncanonical pathway involving Lmx1b. Furthermore, we show that LBH is aberrantly overexpressed in mammary tumors of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-Wnt1-transgenic mice and in aggressive basal subtype human breast cancers that display Wnt/beta-catenin hyperactivation. Deregulation of LBH in human basal breast cancer appears to be Wnt/beta-catenin dependent, as DKK1 and Wnt7a inhibit LBH expression in breast tumor cells. Overexpression studies indicate that LBH suppresses mammary epithelial cell differentiation, an effect that could contribute to Wnt-induced tumorigenesis. Taken together, our findings link LBH for the first time to the Wnt signaling pathway in both development and cancer and highlight LBH as a potential new marker for therapeutically challenging basal-like breast cancers.

Rosales-Reynoso MA, Ochoa-Hernández AB, Aguilar-Lemarroy A, et al.
Gene expression profiling identifies WNT7A as a possible candidate gene for decreased cancer risk in fragile X syndrome patients.
Arch Med Res. 2010; 41(2):110-118.e2 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Although sporadic cases of cancer in patients with fragile X syndrome (FXS) have been reported, extensive studies carried out in Denmark and Finland concluded that cancer incidence in these patients is lower than in the general population. On the other hand, the FMR1 protein, which is involved in the translation process, is absent in FXS patients. Hence, it is reasonable to assume that these patients exhibit an abnormal expression of some proteins involved in regulating tumor suppressor genes and/or oncogenes, thus explaining its decreased cancer frequency. We undertook this study to analyze the expression of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in fragile X syndrome patients.
METHODS: Molecular analysis of the FMR1 gene was achieved in 10 male patients and controls. Total RNA from peripheral blood was used to evaluate expression of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes included in a 10,000 gene microarray library. Quantitative real-time PCR was utilized to confirm genes with differential expression.
RESULTS: Among 27 genes showing increased expression in FXS patients, only eight genes exhibited upregulation in at least 50% of them. Among these, ARMCX2 and PPP2R5C genes are tumor suppressor related. Likewise, 23/65 genes showed decreased expression in >50% of patients. Among them, WNT7A gene is a ligand of the beta-catenin pathway, which is widely related to oncogenic processes. Decreased expression of WNT7A was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. Expression of c-Myc, c-Jun, cyclin-D and PPARdelta genes, as target of the beta-catenin pathway, was moderately reduced in FXS patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that this diminished expression of the WNT7A gene may be related to a supposed protection of FXS patients to develop cancer.

Chattopadhyay I, Singh A, Phukan R, et al.
Genome-wide analysis of chromosomal alterations in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma exposed to tobacco and betel quid from high-risk area in India.
Mutat Res. 2010; 696(2):130-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genomic alterations such as chromosomal amplifications, deletions and loss of heterozygosity play an important role in the pathogenesis and progression of cancer. Environmental risk factors contribute to the development and progression of tumors by facilitating the loss of tumor suppressor genes and amplification of oncogenes. In this current study, Affymetrix 10K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays were used to evaluate genomic alterations in 20 pairs of matched germ-line and tumor DNA obtained from patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) from high-risk area of India where tobacco, betel quid and alcohol use are widespread. Twenty-two amplified regions and 16 deleted regions identified across chromosomal arms were biologically relevant. The candidate genes located at amplified regions of chromosomes or low-level gain regions such as PLA2G5 (1p36-p34), COL11A1 (1p21), KCNK2 (1q41), S100A3 (1q21), ENAH (1q42.12), RGS1 (1q31), KCNH1 (1q32-q41), INSIG2 (2q14.1), FGF12 (3q28), TRIO (5p15.2), RNASEN (5p15.2), FGF10 (5p13-p12), EDN1(6p24.1-p22.3), SULF1 (8q13.2-13.3), TLR4 (9q32-q33), TNC (9q33), NTRK2 (9q22.1), CD44 (11p13), NCAM1 (11q23.1), TRIM29 (11q22-q23), PAK1 (11q13-q14) and RAB27A (15q15-q21.1), are found to be associated with cellular migration and proliferation, tumor cell metastasis and invasion, anchorage independent growth and inhibition of apoptosis. The candidate genes located at deleted regions of chromosomes, such as FBLN2 (3p25.1), WNT7A (3p25), DLC1 (8p22), LZTS1 (8p22), CDKN2A (9p21), COL4A1 (13q34), CDK8 (13q12) and DCC (18q21.3), are found to be associated with the suppression of tumor. The suggested candidate genes were mostly involved in potential signaling pathways such as focal adhesion (COL4A1), tight junction (CLDN10), MAPK signaling pathway (FGF12) and neuroactive ligand receptor interaction pathway (CCKAR). Expression of FGF12 and COL4A1 was validated by tissue microarray. These unique copy number alteration profiles should be taken into consideration when developing biomarkers for the early detection of ESCC in high-risk areas of India in association with tobacco and betel quid use.

Merritt MA, Parsons PG, Newton TR, et al.
Expression profiling identifies genes involved in neoplastic transformation of serous ovarian cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2009; 9:378 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The malignant potential of serous ovarian tumors, the most common ovarian tumor subtype, varies from benign to low malignant potential (LMP) tumors to frankly invasive cancers. Given the uncertainty about the relationship between these different forms, we compared their patterns of gene expression.
METHODS: Expression profiling was carried out on samples of 7 benign, 7 LMP and 28 invasive (moderate and poorly differentiated) serous tumors and four whole normal ovaries using oligonucleotide microarrays representing over 21,000 genes.
RESULTS: We identified 311 transcripts that distinguished invasive from benign tumors, and 20 transcripts that were significantly differentially expressed between invasive and LMP tumors at p < 0.01 (with multiple testing correction). Five genes that were differentially expressed between invasive and either benign or normal tissues were validated by real time PCR in an independent panel of 46 serous tumors (4 benign, 7 LMP, 35 invasive). Overexpression of SLPI and WNT7A and down-regulation of C6orf31, PDGFRA and GLTSCR2 were measured in invasive and LMP compared with benign and normal tissues. Over-expression of WNT7A in an ovarian cancer cell line led to increased migration and invasive capacity.
CONCLUSION: These results highlight several genes that may play an important role across the spectrum of serous ovarian tumorigenesis.

Carmon KS, Loose DS
Secreted frizzled-related protein 4 regulates two Wnt7a signaling pathways and inhibits proliferation in endometrial cancer cells.
Mol Cancer Res. 2008; 6(6):1017-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the endometrium, hormonal effects on epithelial cells are often elicited through stromal hormone receptors via unknown paracrine mechanisms. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that Wnts participate in stromal-epithelial cell communication. Wnt7a is expressed in the luminal epithelium, whereas the extracellular modulator of Wnt signaling, secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4), is localized to the stroma. Studies have reported that SFRP4 expression is significantly decreased in endometrial carcinoma and that both SFRP4 and Wnt7a genes are differentially regulated in response to estrogenic stimuli. Aberrant Wnt7a signaling irrevocably causes organ defects and infertility and contributes to the onset of disease. However, specific frizzled receptors (Fzd) that bind Wnt7a and the particular signal transduction pathway each Wnt7a-Fzd pair activates have not been identified. Additionally, the function of SFRP4 in the endometrium has not been addressed. We show here that Wnt7a coimmunoprecipitates with Fzd5, Fzd10, and SFRP4 in Ishikawa cells. Wnt7a binding to Fzd5 was shown to activate beta-catenin/canonical Wnt signaling and increase cellular proliferation. Conversely, Wnt7a signaling mediated by Fzd10 induced a noncanonical c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase-responsive pathway. SFRP4 suppresses activation of Wnt7a signaling in both an autocrine and paracrine manner. Stable overexpression of SFRP4 and treatment with recombinant SFRP4 protein inhibited endometrial cancer cell growth in vitro. These findings support a mechanism by which the nature of the Wnt7a signal in the endometrium is dependent on the Fzd repertoire of the cell and can be regulated by SFRP4.

Rai PR, Cool CD, King JA, et al.
The cancer paradigm of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2008; 178(6):558-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The plexiform lesions of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are similar in histologic appearance, whether the disease is idiopathic or secondary. Both forms of the disease show actively proliferating endothelial cells without evidence of apoptosis. Here, we discuss the pathobiology of the atypical, angioproliferative endothelial cells in severe PAH. The concept of the endothelial cell as a "quasi-malignant" cell provides a new framework for antiproliferative, antiangiogenic therapy in severe PAH.

Liu X, Mazanek P, Dam V, et al.
Deregulated Wnt/beta-catenin program in high-risk neuroblastomas without MYCN amplification.
Oncogene. 2008; 27(10):1478-88 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neuroblastoma (NB) is a frequently lethal tumor of childhood. MYCN amplification accounts for the aggressive phenotype in a subset while the majority have no consistently identified molecular aberration but frequently express MYC at high levels. We hypothesized that activated Wnt/beta-catenin (CTNNB1) signaling might account for this as MYC is a beta-catenin transcriptional target and multiple embryonal and neural crest malignancies have oncogenic alterations in this pathway. NB cell lines without MYCN amplification express higher levels of MYC and beta-catenin (with aberrant nuclear localization) than MYCN-amplified cell lines. Evidence for aberrant beta-catenin-TCF transcriptional activity was demonstrated using expression profiles from 73 primary NBs. Findings included increased WNT ligands (WNT1, WNT6, WNT7A, WNT10B), DVL1 and TCF7 expression in high-risk NBs without MYCN amplification, consistent with canonical beta-catenin signaling. More directly, Patterns of Gene Expression and Gene Set Enrichment Analyses demonstrated beta-catenin target genes (for example, MYC, PPARD, NRCAM, CD44, TCF7) as coordinately upregulated in high-risk NBs without MYCN amplification in comparison to high-risk MYCN-amplified or intermediate-risk NBs, supporting pathway activation in this subset. Thus, high-risk NBs without MYCN amplification may deregulate MYC and other oncogenic genes via altered beta-catenin signaling providing a potential candidate pathway for therapeutic inhibition.

Lindberg D, Akerström G, Westin G
Mutational analyses of WNT7A and HDAC11 as candidate tumour suppressor genes in sporadic malignant pancreatic endocrine tumours.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2007; 66(1):110-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: We and others have reported loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on chromosome 3p25 in sporadic malignant pancreatic endocrine tumours (PETs). A common region of deletion on chromosome 3p25 contains numerous genes, including VHL and PPARgamma, that have been excluded previously as candidate tumour suppressor genes by DNA sequencing analysis. We have analysed whether WNT7A or HDAC11 was biallelically inactivated in a group of well-characterized PETs.
PATIENTS AND DESIGN: Ten PETs from eight patients were selected from a previous study, where LOH on chromosome 3p25 was found in 11 out of 22 sporadic PETs. These tumours were examined for inactivating mutations of WNT7A and HDAC11 by direct sequencing of all exons and intron-exon boundaries. Inactivation of WNT7A expression by aberrant CpG island methylation and WNT7A protein expression were evaluated by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry, respectively. HDAC11 protein expression was also examined.
RESULTS: No point mutations, deletion or insertions were detected in either WNT7A or HDAC11 in any of the PETs. Two polymorphisms were identified in the third exon of the WNT7A gene. CpG methylation of the WNT7A gene was not detected and the WNT7A and HDAC11 proteins were normally expressed.
CONCLUSION: The absence of tumour-specific somatic events in WNT7A and HDAC11 suggests that these genes are unlikely to have a classical tumour suppressor gene role in sporadic malignant PETs. The putative 3p25 tumour suppressor remains to be identified.

Winn RA, Van Scoyk M, Hammond M, et al.
Antitumorigenic effect of Wnt 7a and Fzd 9 in non-small cell lung cancer cells is mediated through ERK-5-dependent activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma.
J Biol Chem. 2006; 281(37):26943-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt pathway is critical for normal development, and mutation of specific components is seen in carcinomas of diverse origins. The role of this pathway in lung tumorigenesis has not been clearly established. Recent studies from our laboratory indicate that combined expression of the combination of Wnt 7a and Frizzled 9 (Fzd 9) in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) cell lines inhibits transformed growth. We have also shown that increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) inhibits transformed growth of NSCLC and promotes epithelial differentiation of these cells. The goal of this study was to determine whether the effects of Wnt 7a/Fzd 9 were mediated through PPARgamma. We found that Wnt 7a and Fzd 9 expression led to increased PPARgamma activity. This effect was not mediated by altered expression of the protein. Wnt 7a and Fzd 9 expression resulted in activation of ERK5, which was required for PPARgamma activation in NSCLC. SR 202, a known PPARgamma inhibitor, blocked the increase in PPARgamma activity and restored anchorage-independent growth in NSCLC expressing Wnt 7a and Fzd 9. SR 202 also reversed the increase in E-cadherin expression mediated by Wnt 7a and Fzd 9. These data suggest that ERK5-dependent activation of PPARgamma represents a major effector pathway mediating the anti-tumorigenic effects of Wnt 7a and Fzd 9 in NSCLC.

Fluge Ø, Bruland O, Akslen LA, et al.
Gene expression in poorly differentiated papillary thyroid carcinomas.
Thyroid. 2006; 16(2):161-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
We used cDNA microarrays to study gene expression in fresh frozen papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) specimens. Seven clinically aggressive carcinomas were included, comprising poorly differentiated PTC and tumors with extensive local invasion or synchronous distant metastases. Ten differentiated (classic) papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC) and non-neoplastic thyroid tissues were also investigated. TaqMan quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry verified the differential gene expression. The B-Raf gene was mutated with a T-->A transversion at nucleotide 1799 (V600E) in 8 of 10 differentiated PTC, and in 4 of 7 aggressive carcinomas. Among genes markedly and equally over-expressed in carcinomas of both the aggressive and classic PtC groups, compared to normal thyroid tissue, were CBP/p300 transactivator (CItED1), fibronectin, growth/differentiation factor 15, potassium inwardly rectifying channel KCNJ2, glutaminyl peptide cyclotransferase, WNT7A, and dipeptidyl peptidase IV. A marked upregulation in carcinomas of P-cadherin mRNA and protein concomitant with E-cadherin downregulation, indicates a possible P-E cadherin "switch" in PTC. The growth factor homologue Nel-like 2, dual specificity phosphatase 5, the serine protease kallikrein 10, and also the tight junction genes claudin 1 and claudin 16, were upregulated in classic PTC but not in aggressive tumors, which may be consistent with altered cell polarity in the dedifferentiated PtC. The aggressive, poorly differentiated PtC group was specifically characterized by marked upregulation of several genes related to cell proliferation such as cell division cycle 2 (CDC2), CDC7, kinesin-like 5, ubiquitin conjugating enzyme E2C, and topoisomerase IIalpha, and by upregulation of genes encoding extracellular matrix proteins such as seprase, extracellular matrix protein 1, and several collagens. These aggressive tumors were also characterized by overexpression of the integrin ligand periostin, and in some biopsies also of osteopontin and of the upstream Rac-regulator dedicator of cytokinesis 10 (DOCK10). These data are interpreted to be consistent with altered cell motility, extracellular matrix remodeling and increased cell proliferation, as important processes in PTC tumor progression.

Wagner J, Lehmann L
Estrogens modulate the gene expression of Wnt-7a in cultured endometrial adenocarcinoma cells.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2006; 50(4-5):368-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
The glycoprotein Wnt-7a participates in a signaling pathway that transmits information among uterine cell types. Disruption of this pathway by the transplacentally acting carcinogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) is associated with morphological abnormalities of the female reproductive tract (FRT). This raises the question whether estrogens in the diet might also interfere with this pathway. Therefore, this study investigated the influence of the steroid hormone 17beta-estradiol (E2), the mycotoxin zearalenone (ZEN), the soy phytoestrogen genistein (GEN), and DES on the expression of Wnt-7a in an endometrial adenocarcinoma cell line (Ishikawa cells) by reverse transcription/competitive PCR. In addition, the enzymatic activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was determined, which is estrogen receptor (ER)-dependently regulated in Ishikawa cells. After treatment of Ishikawa cells with E2, ZEN, GEN, and DES, a decrease in the gene expression of Wnt-7a was observed. Maximum effect (50% reduction) was observed after treatment with concentrations that induced maximum expression of the ALP. Experiments in the presence of the ER antagonist (ICI 182,780) suggested that the ER is involved in the regulation of Wnt-7a in Ishikawa cells. In conclusion, interference with the expression of Wnt genes in the FRT might be a novel mechanism by which estrogens disrupt the function of the FRT.

Winn RA, Marek L, Han SY, et al.
Restoration of Wnt-7a expression reverses non-small cell lung cancer cellular transformation through frizzled-9-mediated growth inhibition and promotion of cell differentiation.
J Biol Chem. 2005; 280(20):19625-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt signaling pathway is critical in normal development, and mutation of specific components is frequently observed in carcinomas of diverse origins. However, the potential involvement of this pathway in lung tumorigenesis has not been established. In this study, analysis of multiple Wnt mRNAs in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and primary lung tumors revealed markedly decreased Wnt-7a expression compared with normal short-term bronchial epithelial cell lines and normal uninvolved lung tissue. Wnt-7a transfection in NSCLC cell lines reversed cellular transformation, decreased anchorage-independent growth, and induced epithelial differentiation as demonstrated by soft agar and three-dimensional cell culture assays in a subset of the NSCLC cell lines. The action of Wnt-7a correlated with expression of the specific Wnt receptor Frizzled-9 (Fzd-9), and transfection of Fzd-9 into a Wnt-7a-insensitive NSCLC cell line established Wnt-7a sensitivity. Moreover, Wnt-7a was present in Fzd-9 immunoprecipitates, indicating a direct interaction of Wnt-7a and Fzd-9. In NSCLC cells, Wnt-7a and Fzd-9 induced both cadherin and Sprouty-4 expression and stimulated the JNK pathway, but not beta-catenin/T cell factor activity. In addition, transfection of gain-of-function JNK strongly inhibited anchorage-independent growth. Thus, this study demonstrates that Wnt-7a and Fzd-9 signaling through activation of the JNK pathway induces cadherin proteins and the receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sprouty-4 and represents a novel tumor suppressor pathway in lung cancer that is required for maintenance of epithelial differentiation and inhibition of transformed cell growth in a subset of human NSCLCs.

Hoang BH, Kubo T, Healey JH, et al.
Expression of LDL receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) as a novel marker for disease progression in high-grade osteosarcoma.
Int J Cancer. 2004; 109(1):106-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wingless-type (Wnt) family of proteins and its coreceptor LRP5 have recently been implicated in human skeletal development. Wnt pathway modulates cell fate and cell proliferation during embryonic development and carcinogenesis through activation of receptor-mediated signaling. Osteosarcoma (OS) is a bone-forming tumor of mesenchymal origin whose growth control has been linked to autocrine or paracrine stimulation by several growth factor families. We examined 4 OS cell lines for WNT1, WNT4, WNT5A, WNT7A, WNT11, FZD1-10 and LRP5 expression by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In addition, RT-PCR for LRP5 expression was performed in 44 OS patient samples and the findings were correlated with clinical data. Expression profiling of Wnts and their receptors revealed the presence of several isoforms in OS cell lines. Overall, 22/44 (50%) of OS patient samples showed evidence of LRP5 expression. Presence of LRP5 correlated significantly with tumor metastasis (p = 0.005) and the chondroblastic subtype of OS (p = 0.045). In addition, patients whose tumors were positive for LRP5 showed a trend toward decreased event-free survival (p = 0.066). No significant association was found between LRP5 expression and age, gender, site of disease, site of metastasis or degree of chemotherapy-induced tumor necrosis. Sequencing of exon 3 of LRP5 in 10 OS patient-derived cell cultures showed no activating mutation of LRP5. These results showed that expression of LRP5 is a common event in OS and strongly suggest a role for LRP and Wnt signaling in the pathobiology and progression of this disease.

Sato N, Fukushima N, Maitra A, et al.
Discovery of novel targets for aberrant methylation in pancreatic carcinoma using high-throughput microarrays.
Cancer Res. 2003; 63(13):3735-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
To identify potential targets for aberrant methylation in pancreatic cancer, we analyzed global changes in gene expression profiles of four pancreatic cancer cell lines after treatment with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5Aza-dC) and/or the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. A substantial number of genes were induced 5-fold or greater by 5Aza-dC alone (631 transcripts), trichostatin A alone (1196 transcripts), and by treatment with both agents (857 transcripts). Four hundred and seventy-five genes were markedly (>5-fold) induced after 5Aza-dC treatment in pancreatic cancer cell lines but not in a nonneoplastic pancreatic epithelial cell line. The methylation status of 11 of these 475 genes was examined in a panel of 42 pancreatic cancers, and all 11 of these genes were aberrantly methylated in pancreatic cancer but rarely, if any, methylated in 10 normal pancreatic ductal epithelia. These genes include UCHL1 (methylated in 100% of 42 pancreatic cancers), NPTX2 (98%), SARP2 (95%), CLDN5 (93%), reprimo (86%), LHX1 (76%), WNT7A (71%), FOXE1 (69%), TJP2 (64%), CDH3 (19%), and ST14 (10%). Three of these 11 genes (NPTX2, SARP2, and CLDN5) were selected for further analysis in a larger panel of specimens, and aberrant methylation of at least one of these three genes was detectable in 100% of 43 primary pancreatic cancers and in 18 of 24 (75%) pancreatic juice samples obtained from patients with pancreatic cancer. Thus, a substantial number of genes are induced by 5Aza-dC treatment of pancreatic cancer cells, and many of them may represent novel targets for aberrant methylation in pancreatic carcinoma.

Hossain A, Saunders GF
Synergistic cooperation between the beta-catenin signaling pathway and steroidogenic factor 1 in the activation of the Mullerian inhibiting substance type II receptor.
J Biol Chem. 2003; 278(29):26511-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mullerian inhibiting substance type II receptor (MISRII) is a member of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily. Mutations in mullerian inhibiting substance (MIS) or MISRII cause male sexual abnormalities, persistent mullerian duct syndrome, and pseudohermaphroditism. The spatial and temporal regulation of MIS and MISRII is important for its biological action. Male Wnt7a mutant mice do not undergo regression of mullerian ducts. Here we showed that the canonical Wnt signaling pathway regulated MISRII. The promoter MISRII was activated by beta-catenin expression, and this activation was dependent on TCF4-binding sites. The nuclear receptor superfamily member steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1) synergistically activated the MISRII promoter with beta-catenin. APC, a negative regulator of Wnt signaling, decreased SF1-mediated activation of the MISRII promoter in the colon carcinoma cell line SW480. We also showed a direct physical interaction between beta-catenin and SF1 by co-immunoprecipitation. Thus, our findings suggest that MISRII is a developmental target of Wnt7a signaling for mullerian duct regression during sexual differentiation.

Rhee CS, Sen M, Lu D, et al.
Wnt and frizzled receptors as potential targets for immunotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.
Oncogene. 2002; 21(43):6598-605 [PubMed] Related Publications
The diverse receptor-ligand pairs of the Wnt and frizzled (Fz) families play important roles during embryonic development, and thus may be overexpressed in cancers that arise from immature cells. Hence, we investigated the expression and function of five Wnt (Wnt-1, 5a, 7a, 10b, 13) and two Fz (Fz-2, 5) genes in 10 head and neck squamous carcinoma cell lines (HNSCC). In comparison to normal bronchial or oral epithelial cells, all the HNSCC had markedly increased mRNA levels of Wnt-1, 7a, 10b, and 13, as well as Fz-2. Moreover, the levels of Wnt-1, 10b, and Fz-2 proteins were also markedly increased in HNSCC, relative to normal epithelial cells. Treatment of one HNSCC cell line (SNU 1076) with anti-Wnt-1 antibodies reduced the activity of the Wnt/Fz dependent transcription factor LEF/TCF, and diminished the expression of cyclin D1 and beta-catenin proteins. Blocking Wnt-1 signaling also inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in these cells. These results show that HNSCC cell lines often overexpress one or more Wnt and Fz genes, and suggest that the growth and survival of a subset of HNSCC may depend on the Wnt/Fz pathway. Hence, the Wnt and Fz receptors may be possible targets for immunotherapy therapy of this common cancer.

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.

Oehler MK, MacKenzie IZ, Wallwiener D, et al.
Wnt-7a is upregulated by norethisterone in human endometrial epithelial cells: a possible mechanism by which progestogens reduce the risk of estrogen-induced endometrial neoplasia.
Cancer Lett. 2002; 186(1):75-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Progestogens are added to oestrogen in hormone replacement therapy regimens to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. We have performed in vitro studies analysing gene expression of isolated normal endometrial epithelia cells (NEE) treated with estradiol and the progestogen norethisterone acetate (NETA). We report here for the first time upregulation of the Wnt-7a gene by NETA in estrogen treated NEE. Wnt genes are a large family of developmental genes associated with cellular responses such as oncogenesis. We therefore suggest that upregulation of Wnt-7a may be associated with the antineoplastic effects of progestogens on the endometrium.

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