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A genome-wide RNAi screen for Wnt/β-catenin pathway components identifies unexpected roles for TCF transcription factors in cancer

By Wei Tang, Michael Dodge, Deepika Gundapaneni, Carolyn Michnoff, Michael Roth and Lawrence Lum


The Wnt family of secreted proteins coordinate cell fate decision-making in a broad range of developmental and homeostatic contexts. Corruption of Wnt signal transduction pathways frequently results in degenerative diseases and cancer. We have used an iterative genome-wide screening strategy that employs multiple nonredundant RNAi reagents to identify mammalian genes that participate in Wnt/β-catenin pathway response. Among the genes that were assigned high confidence scores are two members of the TCF/LEF family of DNA-binding proteins that control the transcriptional output of the pathway. Surprisingly, we found that the presumed cancer-promoting gene TCF7L2 functions instead as a transcriptional repressor that restricts colorectal cancer (CRC) cell growth. Mutations in TCF7L2 identified from cancer genome sequencing efforts abolish its ability to function as a transcriptional regulator and result in increased CRC cell growth. We describe a growth-promoting transcriptional program that is likely activated in CRC tumors with compromised TCF7L2 function. Taken together, the results from our screen and studies focused on members of the TCF/LEF gene family refine our understanding of how aberrant Wnt pathway activation sustains CRC growth

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2453074
Provided by: PubMed Central
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