[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A role for WNT signalling in gastric carcinogenesis has been suggested due to two major observations. First, patients with germline mutations in adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) are susceptible to stomach polyps and second, in gastric cancer, WNT activation confers a poor prognosis. However, the functional significance of deregulated WNT signalling in gastric homoeostasis and cancer is still unclear. In this study we have addressed this by investigating the immediate effects of WNT signalling activation within the stomach epithelium. We have specifically activated the WNT signalling pathway within the mouse adult gastric epithelium via deletion of either glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) or APC or via expression of a constitutively active β-catenin protein. WNT pathway deregulation dramatically affects stomach homoeostasis at very short latencies. In the corpus, there is rapid loss of parietal cells with fundic gland polyp (FGP) formation and adenomatous change, which are similar to those observed in familial adenomatous polyposis. In the antrum, adenomas occur from 4 days post-WNT activation. Taken together, these data show a pivotal role for WNT signalling in gastric homoeostasis, FGP formation and adenomagenesis. Loss of the parietal cell population and corresponding FGP formation, an early event in gastric carcinogenesis, as well as antral adenoma formation are immediate effects of nuclear β-catenin translocation and WNT target gene expression. Furthermore, our inducible murine model will permit a better understanding of the molecular changes required to drive tumourigenesis in the stomach.Oncogene advance online publication, 4 June 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.224.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aggressive fibromatosis (syn. desmoid tumor) is a sporadically occurring neoplastic proliferation of fibroblasts originating from musculoaponeurotic planes, forming invasively growing masses without the capability to metastasize. The choice of treatment remains surgical resection with or without radiotherapy, and is characterized by high recurrence rates. Better understanding of the aetiology of aggressive fibromatosis is needed to be able to develop new treatment strategies to cope with the high recurrence rates.
Relevant studies were identified through a search of the electronic databases PubMed/ Medline. The following search terms were used: 'aggressive fibromatosis', 'desmoid tumor', 'adenomatous polyposis coli', 'APC', 'beta-catenin', 'Wnt', 'Wingless' and 'Wnt/Wingless'. Studies were selected for review on the basis of abstract reading. A hand search was performed by checking reference lists in selected articles.
The neoplastic nature of aggressive fibromatosis and the role of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) and beta-catenin signaling cascade in driving the onset and progression of this disease are discussed.
Mutations in either the APC or beta-catenin genes are likely to be a major driving force in the formation of these desmoid tumors. More research is needed to develop new treatment strategies.
European journal of surgical oncology: the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology 09/2008; 35(1):3-10. · 2.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intestinal epithelium and the hair follicle represent examples of rapidly self-renewing tissue in adult mammals. We have recently identified a novel stem cell gene Lgr5 expressed in multiple adult tissues. At the bottoms of crypts in small intestine and colon as well as in hair follicles, Lgr5 marks cycling cells with stem cell properties (Barker et al. 2007; Jaks et al. 2008). Using an inducible Lgr5-Cre knockin allele in conjunction with the Rosa26-LacZ Cre reporter strain, long-term lineage-tracing experiments were performed in adult mice. The Lgr5(+ve) crypt-based cell generated all epithelial lineages during a 14-month period, implying that it represents the stem cell of the small intestine and colon. Similarly, lineage tracing during a 14-month period revealed that Lgr5(+ve) cells located in the bulge of the hair follicle sustained multiple rounds of hair growth. These observations support the counterintuitive notion that Lgr5(+ve) cells are actively cycling, yet represent long-term stem cells of these adult, self-renewing tissues.
Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 02/2008; 73:351-6.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt-induced formation of nuclear Tcf-beta-catenin complexes promotes transcriptional activation of target genes involved in cell fate decisions. Inappropriate expression of Tcf target genes resulting from mutational activation of this pathway is also implicated in tumorigenesis. The C-terminus of beta-catenin is indispensable for the transactivation function, which probably reflects the presence of binding sites for essential transcriptional coactivators such as p300/CBP. However, the precise mechanism of transactivation remains unclear. Here we demonstrate an interaction between beta-catenin and Brg-1, a component of mammalian SWI/SNF and Rsc chromatin-remodelling complexes. A functional consequence of reintroduction of Brg-1 into Brg-1-deficient cells is enhanced activity of a Tcf-responsive reporter gene. Consistent with this, stable expression of inactive forms of Brg-1 in colon carcinoma cell lines specifically inhibits expression of endogenous Tcf target genes. In addition, we observe genetic interactions between the Brg-1 and beta-catenin homologues in flies. We conclude that beta-catenin recruits Brg-1 to Tcf target gene promoters, facilitating chromatin remodelling as a prerequisite for transcriptional activation.
The EMBO Journal 10/2001; 20(17):4935-43. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Participation of E-cadherin in the Wnt signaling pathway was suggested because of the dual role of beta-catenin in cell adhesion and the Wnt signaling cascade. Whereas beta-catenin interacts at the cell membrane with the cell adhesion protein E-cadherin, in the nucleus it activates Wnt target genes through formation of transcriptionally active complexes with members of the Tcf/Lef family of transcription factors. Here, we analyzed by PCR and direct cycle sequencing 26 human breast cancer cell lines for alterations in the E-cadherin gene. Genetic alterations were identified in eight cell lines. Five cell lines had truncating mutations, whereas three cell lines had in-frame deletions in the gene transcript and expressed mutant E-cadherin proteins at the cell membrane. Involvement of E-cadherin in the Wnt pathway was evaluated through determination of the activity of a Tcf reporter gene, which had been transiently transfected into 15 breast cancer cell lines. None of six E-cadherin mutant cell lines and four cell lines that exhibit transcriptional silencing of the E-cadherin gene showed Tcf-mediated transcriptional activation. E-cadherin wild-type cell line DU4475 exhibited constitutive Tcf-beta-catenin signaling activity and was found to express truncated APC proteins. These results indicate that if cellular transformation occurred through mutation of E-cadherin, it is not mediated via constitutive activation of the Wnt signaling pathway.
Cancer Research 02/2001; 61(1):278-84. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies indicate that plakoglobin may have a similar function to that of beta-catenin within the Wnt signaling pathway. beta-catenin is known to be an oncogene in many forms of human cancer, following acquisition of stabilizing mutations in amino terminal sequences. Kolligs(1) and coworkers show, however, that unlike beta-catenin, plakoglobin induces neoplastic transformation of rat epithelial cells in the absence of such stabilizing mutations. Cellular transformation by plakoglobin also appears to be distinct from that of beta-catenin in that it requires activation of the proto-oncogene c-myc. Surprisingly, c-myc is activated more efficiently by plakoglobin than beta-catenin, despite its previous identification as a target of Tcf/beta-catenin.(2) In contrast, a synthetic Tcf reporter gene is activated to a much greater extent by beta-catenin than plakoglobin. Plakoglobin and beta-catenin may therefore have different roles in Wnt signaling and cancer, which reflect their differential effects on target gene activity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wingless/Wnt signaling directs cell-fate choices during embryonic development. In Drosophila, Wingless signaling mediates endoderm induction and the establishment of segment polarity in the developing embryo. The fly Wingless cascade is strikingly similar to the vertebrate Wnt signaling pathway, which controls a number of key developmental decisions such as dorsal-ventral patterning in Xenopus. Factors of the TCF/LEF HMG domain family (Tcfs) have recently been established as the downstream effectors of the Wingless/Wnt signal transduction pathways. Upon Wingless/Wnt signaling, a cascade is initiated that results in the accumulation of cytoplasmic beta-catenin (or its fly homolog, Armadillo). There is also a concomitant translocation of beta-catenin/Armadillo to the nucleus, where it interacts with a specific sequence motif at the N terminus of Tcfs to generate a transcriptionally active complex. This bipartite transcription factor is targeted to the upstream regulatory regions of Tcf target genes including Siamois and Nodal related gene-3 in Xenopus, engrailed and Ultrabithorax in Drosophila via the sequence-specific HMG box, and mediates their transcriptional activation by virtue of transactivation domains contributed by beta-catenin/Armadillo. In the absence of Wingless/Wnt signals, a key negative regulator of the pathway, GSK3 beta, is activated, which mediates the downregulation of cytoplasmic beta-catenin/Armadillo via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. In the absence of nuclear beta-catenin, the Tcfs recruit the corepressor protein Groucho to the target gene enhancers and actively repress their transcription. An additional corepressor protein, CREB-binding protein (CBP), may also be involved in this repression of Tcf target gene activity. Several other proteins, including adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), GSK3 beta, and Axin/Conductin, are instrumental in the regulation of beta-catenin/Armadillo. In APC-deficient colon carcinoma cell lines, beta-catenin accumulates and is constitutively complexed with nuclear Tcf-4. A proportion of APC wild-type colon carcinomas and melanomas also contains constitutive nuclear Tcf-4/beta-catenin complexes as a result of dominant mutations in the N terminus of beta-catenin that render it insensitive to downregulation by APC, GSK3 beta, and Axin/Conductin. This results in the unregulated expression of Tcf-4 target genes such as c-myc. Based on the established role for Tcf-4 in maintaining intestinal stem cells it is likely that deregulation of c-myc expression as a result of constitutive Tcf-4/beta-catenin activity promotes uncontrolled intestinal cell proliferation. This would readily explain the formation of intestinal polyps during colon carcinogenesis. Similar mechanisms leading to deregulation of Tcf target gene activity are likely to be involved in melanoma and other forms of cancer.
Advances in Cancer Research 02/2000; 77:1-24. · 6.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Wnt signalling pathway regulates many developmental processes through a complex of beta-catenin and the T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor (TCF/LEF) family of high-mobility-group transcription factors. Wnt stabilizes cytosolic beta-catenin, which then binds to TCF and activates gene transcription. This signalling cascade is conserved in vertebrates, Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans. In C. elegans, the proteins MOM-4 and LIT-1 regulate Wnt signalling to polarize responding cells during embryogenesis. MOM-4 and LIT-1 are homologous to TAK1 (a kinase activated by transforming growth factor-beta) mitogen-activated protein-kinase-kinase kinase (MAP3K) and MAP kinase (MAPK)-related NEMO-like kinase (NLK), respectively, in mammalian cells. These results raise the possibility that TAK1 and NLK are also involved in Wnt signalling in mammalian cells. Here we show that TAK1 activation stimulates NLK activity and downregulates transcriptional activation mediated by beta-catenin and TCF. Injection of NLK suppresses the induction of axis duplication by microinjected beta-catenin in Xenopus embryos. NLK phosphorylates TCF/LEF factors and inhibits the interaction of the beta-catenin-TCF complex with DNA. Thus, the TAK1-NLK-MAPK-like pathway negatively regulates the Wnt signalling pathway.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tcf-4 is a member of the Tcf/Lef family of transcription factors that interact functionally with beta-catenin to mediate Wnt signaling in vertebrates. We have previously demonstrated that the tumor suppressor function of APC in the small intestine is mediated via regulation of Tcf-4/beta-catenin transcriptional activity. To gain further insight into the role of Tcf-4 in development and carcinogenesis we have generated several mouse monoclonal antibodies, one of which is specific for Tcf-4 and another of which recognizes both Tcf-3 and Tcf-4. Immunohistochemistry performed with the Tcf 4- specific monoclonal antibody revealed high levels of expression in normal intestinal and mammary epithelium and carcinomas derived therefrom. Additional sites of Tcf-3 expression, as revealed by staining with the Tcf-3/-4 antibody, occurred only within the stomach epithelium, hair follicles, and keratinocytes of the skin. A temporal Tcf-4 expression gradient was observed along the crypt-villus axis of human small intestinal epithelium: strong Tcf-4 expression was present within the crypts of early (week 16) human fetal small intestine, with the villi showing barely detectable Tcf-4 protein levels. Tcf-4 expression levels increased dramatically on the villi of more highly developed (week 22) fetal small intestine. We conclude that Tcf-4 exhibits a highly restricted expression pattern related to the developmental stage of the intestinal epithelium. The high levels of Tcf-4 expression in mammary epithelium and mammary carcinomas may also indicate a role in the development of this tissue and breast carcinoma.
American Journal Of Pathology 02/1999; 154(1):29-35. · 4.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations of the genes encoding APC or beta-catenin in colon carcinoma induce the constitutive formation of nuclear beta-catenin/Tcf-4 complexes, resulting in activated transcription of Tcf target genes. To study the physiological role of Tcf-4 (which is encoded by the Tcf7/2 gene), we disrupted Tcf7/2 by homologous recombination. Tcf7/2-/- mice die shortly after birth. A single histopathological abnormality was observed. An apparently normal transition of intestinal endoderm into epithelium occurred at approximately embryonic day (E) 14.5. However, no proliferative compartments were maintained in the prospective crypt regions between the villi. As a consequence, the neonatal epithelium was composed entirely of differentiated, non-dividing villus cells. We conclude that the genetic program controlled by Tcf-4 maintains the crypt stem cells of the small intestine. The constitutive activity of Tcf-4 in APC-deficient human epithelial cells may contribute to their malignant transformation by maintaining stem-cell characteristics.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tcf transcription factors interact with beta-catenin and Armadillo to mediate Wnt/Wingless signaling. We now report the characterization of genes encoding two murine members of the Tcf family, mTcf-3 and mTcf-4. mTcf-3 mRNA is ubiquitously present in embryonic day 6.5 (E6.5) mouse embryos but gradually disappears over the next 3 to 4 days. mTcf-4 expression occurs first at E10.5 and is restricted to di- and mesencephalon and the intestinal epithelium during embryogenesis. The mTcf-3 and mTcf-4 proteins bind a canonical Tcf DNA motif and can complex with the transcriptional coactivator beta-catenin. Overexpression of Wnt-1 in a mammary epithelial cell line leads to the formation of a nuclear complex between beta-catenin and Tcf proteins and to Tcf reporter gene transcription. These data demonstrate a direct link between Wnt stimulation and beta-catenin/Tcf transcriptional activation and imply a role for mTcf-3 and -4 in early Wnt-driven developmental decisions in the mouse embryo.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 04/1998; 18(3):1248-56. · 5.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inactivation of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene initiates colorectal neoplasia. One of the biochemical activities associated with the APC protein is down-regulation of transcriptional activation mediated by beta-catenin and T cell transcription factor 4 (Tcf-4). The protein products of mutant APC genes present in colorectal tumors were found to be defective in this activity. Furthermore, colorectal tumors with intact APC genes were found to contain activating mutations of beta-catenin that altered functionally significant phosphorylation sites. These results indicate that regulation of beta-catenin is critical to APC's tumor suppressive effect and that this regulation can be circumvented by mutations in either APC or beta-catenin.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor protein binds to beta-catenin, a protein recently shown to interact with Tcf and Lef transcription factors. The gene encoding hTcf-4, a Tcf family member that is expressed in colonic epithelium, was cloned and characterized. hTcf-4 transactivates transcription only when associated with beta-catenin. Nuclei of APC-/- colon carcinoma cells were found to contain a stable beta-catenin-hTcf-4 complex that was constitutively active, as measured by transcription of a Tcf reporter gene. Reintroduction of APC removed beta-catenin from hTcf-4 and abrogated the transcriptional transactivation. Constitutive transcription of Tcf target genes, caused by loss of APC function, may be a crucial event in the early transformation of colonic epithelium.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present invention relates to the use of inhibitors of the expressed proteins of TCF target genes whose expression is regulated by TCF/.beta.-catenin complexes for the preparation of a therapeutical composition for the treatment of cancers in which TCF/.beta.-catenin signalling is deregulated. Such inhibitors can be antibodies, small molecules, antisense RNA and dsRNA for use in RNAi. The invention also relates to these inhibitors per se.