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Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common renal neoplasm of childhood and affects 1 in 10 000 children aged less than 15 years. These embryonal tumors are thought to arise from primitive nephrogenic rests that derive from the metanephric mesenchyme during kidney development and are characterized partly by increased Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We previously showed that coordinate activation of Ras and β-catenin accelerates the growth and metastatic progression of a murine WT model. Here, we show that activating KRAS mutations can be found in human WT. In addition, high levels of phosphorylated AKT are present in the majority of WT. We further show in a mouse model and in renal epithelial cells that Ras cooperates with β-catenin to drive metastatic disease progression and promotes in vitro tumor cell growth, migration, and colony formation in soft agar. Cellular transformation and metastatic disease progression of WT cells are in part dependent on PI3K/AKT activation and are inhibited via pharmacological inhibition of this pathway. Our studies suggest both KRAS mutations and AKT activation are present in WT and may represent novel therapeutic targets for this disease.
© 2017 The Authors. Published by FEBS Press and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
The regulation of β-catenin turnover is the central mechanism governing activation of the Wnt signaling pathway. All components of the pathway are present in the early embryo of Xenopus laevis, and Xenopus egg extracts have been used to recapitulate complex biological reactions such as microtubule dynamics, DNA replication, chromatin assembly, and phases of the cell cycle. Herein, we describe a biochemical method for analyzing β-catenin degradation using radiolabeled and luciferase-fusion proteins in Xenopus egg extracts. We show that in such a biochemical system, cytoplasmic β-catenin degradation is regulated by soluble components of the Wnt pathway as well as small molecules.
Wnt/β-catenin signalling directs fundamental processes during metazoan development and can be aberrantly activated in cancer. Wnt stimulation induces the recruitment of the scaffold protein Axin from an inhibitory destruction complex to a stimulatory signalosome. Here we analyse the early effects of Wnt on Axin and find that the ADP-ribose polymerase Tankyrase (Tnks)--known to target Axin for proteolysis-regulates Axin's rapid transition following Wnt stimulation. We demonstrate that the pool of ADP-ribosylated Axin, which is degraded under basal conditions, increases immediately following Wnt stimulation in both Drosophila and human cells. ADP-ribosylation of Axin enhances its interaction with the Wnt co-receptor LRP6, an essential step in signalosome assembly. We suggest that in addition to controlling Axin levels, Tnks-dependent ADP-ribosylation promotes the reprogramming of Axin following Wnt stimulation; and propose that Tnks inhibition blocks Wnt signalling not only by increasing destruction complex activity, but also by impeding signalosome assembly.
The growing need for therapies to treat large cutaneous defects has driven recent interest in the design of scaffolds that stimulate regenerative wound healing. While many studies have investigated local delivery of biologics as a restorative approach, an increasing body of evidence highlights the contribution of the mechanical properties of implanted scaffolds to wound healing. In the present study, we designed poly(ester urethane) scaffolds using a templated-Fused Deposition Modeling (t-FDM) process to test the hypothesis that scaffolds with substrate modulus comparable to that of collagen fibers enhance a regenerative versus a fibrotic response. We fabricated t-FDM scaffolds with substrate moduli varying from 5 to 266 MPa to investigate the effects of substrate modulus on healing in a rat subcutaneous implant model. Angiogenesis, cellular infiltration, collagen deposition, and directional variance of collagen fibers were maximized for wounds treated with scaffolds having a substrate modulus (Ks = 24 MPa) comparable to that of collagen fibers. The enhanced regenerative response in these scaffolds was correlated with down-regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in fibroblasts, as well as increased polarization of macrophages toward the restorative M2 phenotype. These observations highlight the substrate modulus of the scaffold as a key parameter regulating the regenerative versus scarring phenotype in wound healing. Our findings further point to the potential use of scaffolds with substrate moduli tuned to that of the native matrix as a therapeutic approach to improve cutaneous healing.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Wound healing in mammals is a fibrotic process. The mechanisms driving fibrotic (as opposed to regenerative) repair are poorly understood. Herein we report that therapeutic Wnt inhibition with topical application of small-molecule Wnt inhibitors can reduce fibrosis and promote regenerative cutaneous wound repair. In the naturally stented model of ear punch injury, we found that Wnt/β-catenin pathway is activated most notably in the dermis of the wound bed early (d 2) after injury and subsides to baseline levels by d10. Topical application of either of 2 mechanistically distinct small-molecule Wnt pathway inhibitors (a tankyrase inhibitor, XAV-939, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved casein kinase activator, pyrvinium) in C57Bl/6J mice resulted in significantly increased rates of wound closure (72.3 ± 14.7% with XAV-939; and 52.1 ± 20.9% with pyrvinium) compared with contralateral controls (38.1 ± 23.0 and 40.4.± 16.7%, respectively). Histologically, Wnt inhibition reduced fibrosis as measured by α-smooth muscle actin positive myofibroblasts and collagen type I α1 synthesis. Wnt inhibition also restored skin architecture including adnexal structures in ear wounds and dermal-epidermal junction with rete pegs in excisional wounds. Additionally, in ear punch injury Wnt inhibitor treatment enabled regeneration of auricular cartilage. Our study shows that pharmacologic Wnt inhibition holds therapeutic utility for regenerative repair of cutaneous wounds.
Using in vitro and in vivo models, we investigated the role of TFF1 in suppressing H. pylori-mediated activation of oncogenic β-catenin in gastric tumorigenesis. A reconstitution of TFF1 expression in gastric cancer cells decreased H. pylori-induced β-catenin nuclear translocation, as compared to control (p < 0.001). These cells exhibited significantly lower β-catenin transcriptional activity, measured by pTopFlash reporter, and induction of its target genes (CCND1 and c-MYC), as compared to control. Because of the role of AKT in regulating β-catenin, we performed Western blot analysis and demonstrated that TFF1 reconstitution abrogates H. pylori-induced p-AKT (Ser473), p-β-catenin (Ser552), c-MYC, and CCND1 protein levels. For in vivo validation, we utilized the Tff1-KO gastric neoplasm mouse model. Following infection with PMSS1 H. pylori strain, we detected an increase in the nuclear staining for β-catenin and Ki-67 with a significant induction in the levels of Ccnd1 and c-Myc in the stomach of the Tff1-KO, as compared to Tff1-WT mice (p < 0.05). Only 10% of uninfected Tff1-KO mice, as opposed to one-third of H. pylori-infected Tff1-KO mice, developed invasive adenocarcinoma (p = 0.03). These findings suggest that loss of TFF1 could be a critical step in promoting the H. pylori-mediated oncogenic activation of β-catenin and gastric tumorigenesis.
PURPOSE - Wilms tumor is the most common renal neoplasm of childhood. We previously found that restricted activation of the WNT/β-catenin pathway in renal epithelium late in kidney development is sufficient to induce small primitive neoplasms with features of epithelial Wilms tumor. Metastatic disease progression required simultaneous addition of an activating mutation of the oncogene K-RAS. We sought to define the molecular pathways activated in this process and their relationship to human renal malignancies.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Affymetrix® expression microarray data from murine kidneys with activation of K-ras and/or Ctnnb1 (β-catenin) restricted to renal epithelium were analyzed and compared to publicly available expression data on normal and neoplastic human renal tissue. Target genes were verified by immunoblot and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS - Mouse kidney tumors with activation of K-ras and Ctnnb1, and human renal malignancies had similar mRNA expression signatures and were associated with activation of networks centered on β-catenin and TP53. Up-regulation of WNT/β-catenin targets (MYC, Survivin, FOXA2, Axin2 and Cyclin D1) was confirmed by immunoblot. K-RAS/β-catenin murine kidney tumors were more similar to human Wilms tumor than to other renal malignancies and demonstrated activation of a TP53 dependent network of genes, including the transcription factor E2F1. Up-regulation of E2F1 was confirmed in murine and human Wilms tumor samples.
CONCLUSIONS - Simultaneous activation of K-RAS and β-catenin in embryonic renal epithelium leads to neoplasms similar to human Wilms tumor and associated with activation of TP53 and up-regulation of E2F1. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the role of TP53 and E2F1 in human Wilms tumor.
Copyright © 2015 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Colinear HOX expression during hindbrain and spinal cord development diversifies and assigns regional neural phenotypes to discrete rhombomeric and vertebral domains. Despite the precision of HOX patterning in vivo, in vitro approaches for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to posterior neural fates coarsely pattern HOX expression thereby generating cultures broadly specified to hindbrain or spinal cord regions. Here, we demonstrate that successive activation of fibroblast growth factor, Wnt/β-catenin, and growth differentiation factor signaling during hPSC differentiation generates stable, homogenous SOX2(+)/Brachyury(+) neuromesoderm that exhibits progressive, full colinear HOX activation over 7 days. Switching to retinoic acid treatment at any point during this process halts colinear HOX activation and transitions the neuromesoderm into SOX2(+)/PAX6(+) neuroectoderm with predictable, discrete HOX gene/protein profiles that can be further differentiated into region-specific cells, e.g., motor neurons. This fully defined approach significantly expands capabilities to derive regional neural phenotypes from diverse hindbrain and spinal cord domains.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The intracellular protein p120 catenin aids in maintenance of cell-cell adhesion by regulating E-cadherin stability in epithelial cells. In an effort to understand the biology of p120 catenin in pancreas development, we ablated p120 catenin in mouse pancreatic progenitor cells, which resulted in deletion of p120 catenin in all epithelial lineages of the developing mouse pancreas: islet, acinar, centroacinar, and ductal. Loss of p120 catenin resulted in formation of dilated epithelial tubules, expansion of ductal epithelia, loss of acinar cells, and the induction of pancreatic inflammation. Aberrant branching morphogenesis and tubulogenesis were also observed. Throughout development, the phenotype became more severe, ultimately resulting in an abnormal pancreas comprised primarily of duct-like epithelium expressing early progenitor markers. In pancreatic tissue lacking p120 catenin, overall epithelial architecture remained intact; however, actin cytoskeleton organization was disrupted, an observation associated with increased cytoplasmic PKCζ. Although we observed reduced expression of adherens junction proteins E-cadherin, β-catenin, and α-catenin, p120 catenin family members p0071, ARVCF, and δ-catenin remained present at cell membranes in homozygous p120(f/f) pancreases, potentially providing stability for maintenance of epithelial integrity during development. Adult mice homozygous for deletion of p120 catenin displayed dilated main pancreatic ducts, chronic pancreatitis, acinar to ductal metaplasia (ADM), and mucinous metaplasia that resembles PanIN1a. Taken together, our data demonstrate an essential role for p120 catenin in pancreas development.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.