Variable FZD7 expression in colorectal cancers indicates regulation by the tumour microenvironment.
ABSTRACT Recent evidence shows that a sub-population of Wnt/beta-catenin target genes is specifically induced in different tissue contexts. FZD7 is a putative Wnt/beta-catenin target gene and although it is highly expressed in well-differentiated colorectal cancer tumour cells, its expression is decreased in de-differentiated tumour cells at the invasive front despite elevated Wnt/beta-catenin signalling in this area. This variable expression of FZD7 implicates additional regulation by the microenvironment; however, this has not been investigated. To begin to elucidate the role of extracellular matrix in regulating FZD7 expression, we generated a FZD7 promoter reporter and analysed FZD7 promoter activity in colorectal cancer cells grown on different matrices. We demonstrate that the FZD7 promoter is regulated by beta-catenin in colorectal cancer cells and observed decreased promoter activity in cells grown on fibronectin but not collagen I or collagen IV. Thus, expression of FZD7 in colorectal cancer may be regulated by fibronectin in the microenvironment.
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ABSTRACT: Invasion and dissemination of well-differentiated carcinomas are often associated with loss of epithelial differentiation and gain of mesenchyme-like capabilities of the tumor cells at the invasive front. However, when comparing central areas of primary colorectal carcinomas and corresponding metastases, we again found the same differentiated epithelial growth patterns. These characteristic phenotypic changes were associated with distinct expression patterns of beta-catenin, the main oncogenic protein in colorectal carcinomas, and E-cadherin. Nuclear beta-catenin was found in dedifferentiated mesenchyme-like tumor cells at the invasive front, but strikingly, as in central areas of the primary tumors, was localized to the membrane and cytoplasm in polarized epithelial tumor cells in the metastases. This expression pattern was accompanied by changes in E-cadherin expression and proliferative activity. On the basis of these data, we postulate that an important driving force for progression of well-differentiated colorectal carcinomas is the specific environment, initiating two transient phenotypic transition processes by modulating intracellular beta-catenin distribution in tumor cells.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2001; 98(18):10356-61. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Invasion by colorectal carcinomas is characterized by an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like dedifferentiation of the tumor cells. However, a redifferentiation towards an epithelial phenotype, resembling a mesenchymal-epithelial transition, is detectable in metastases. This indicates that malignant progression is based on dynamic processes, which cannot be explained solely by irreversible genetic alterations, but must be additionally regulated by the tumor environment. The main oncoprotein in colorectal cancer is the Wnt pathway effector beta-catenin, which is overexpressed due to mutations in the APC tumor suppressor in most cases. EMT of the tumor cells is associated with a nuclear accumulation of the transcriptional activator beta-catenin, which is reversed in metastases. Nuclear beta-catenin is involved in two fundamental processes in embryonic development: EMT and stem cell formation. Accumulating data demonstrate that aberrant nuclear expression of beta-catenin can also confer these two abilities to tumor cells, thereby driving malignant tumor progression.Cells Tissues Organs 02/2005; 179(1-2):56-65. · 1.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In colorectal carcinomas, loss-of-function mutations of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene lead to a nuclear accumulation of the oncogenic transcriptional activator beta-catenin, predominantly at the invasive front within the tumor host interface. Various identified genes activated by beta-catenin are associated with tumor invasion. One prerequisite for malignant tumor invasion is the ability of tumor cells to migrate. We recently described the gamma2 chain of laminin as another beta-catenin target gene. Fragments of the laminin gamma2 chain, resulting from cleavage by the membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), are strong inducers of epithelial cell migration. We here show a coordinated expression of nuclear beta-catenin, its target gene and MT1-MMP substrate laminin gamma2 chain, as well as MT1-MMP in tumor cells at invasive regions of colorectal carcinomas. We further demonstrate that MT1-MMP expression is regulated by beta-catenin/TCF through a TCF binding site in its promoter. These results suggest that nuclear beta-catenin activates the coordinated expression of the interacting proinvasive proteins laminin gamma2 chain and MT1-MMP, thereby leading to a promigratory activity at the invasive front of colorectal cancers. This further supports an important role of beta-catenin for invasion and metastasis of colorectal carcinomas.International Journal of Cancer 02/2004; 108(2):321-6. · 6.20 Impact Factor