2,171 research outputs found

    WNT signalling in prostate cancer

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    Genome sequencing and gene expression analyses of prostate tumours have highlighted the potential importance of genetic and epigenetic changes observed in WNT signalling pathway components in prostate tumours-particularly in the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer. WNT signalling is also important in the prostate tumour microenvironment, in which WNT proteins secreted by the tumour stroma promote resistance to therapy, and in prostate cancer stem or progenitor cells, in which WNT-β-catenin signals promote self-renewal or expansion. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the potential of inhibitors that target WNT receptor complexes at the cell membrane or that block the interaction of β-catenin with lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 and the androgen receptor, in preventing prostate cancer progression. Some WNT signalling inhibitors are in phase I trials, but they have yet to be tested in patients with prostate cancer

    Dissecting the impact of Frizzled receptors in Wnt/beta-catenin signaling of human mesenchymal stem cells

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    Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is of fundamental importance in the regulation of self-renewal, migration/invasion, and differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Because little information is available about the function of Frizzled receptors (Fzds) as the main receptors of Wnt proteins in hMSCs, we first performed comparative Fzd mRNA expression profiling. Fzd9 and Fzd10 were not expressed in hMSCs. While Fzd3 was expressed at low levels in hMSCs, the other Fzds exhibited high expression rates. Activation and repression of Wnt signaling in hMSCs revealed that the expression levels of Fzd1, Fzd6, and Fzd7 are positively correlated with the Wnt/beta-catenin activation status, whereas Fzd8 exhibited an inverse relation. For studying the functional relevance of Fzds in Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, RNA interference, ectopic expression studies, and rescue approaches were performed in hMSCs carrying a highly sensitive TCF/LEF reporter gene system (Gaussia luciferase). We found that, Fzd1, Fzd5, Fzd7, and Fzd8 are largely involved in Wnt/beta-catenin signaling of hMSCs. Moreover, the knockdown of Fzd5 can be compensated by the ectopic expression of Fzd7. Conversely, the ectopic expression of Fzd5 in Fzd7-knockdown hMSCs resulted in a rescue of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, pointing to a functional redundancy of Fzd5 and Fzd7

    Frizzled-8 integrates Wnt-11 and transforming growth factor-β signaling in prostate cancer

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    Wnt-11 promotes cancer cell migration and invasion independently of β-catenin but the receptors involved remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence that FZD8 is a major Wnt-11 receptor in prostate cancer that integrates Wnt-11 and TGF-β signals to promote EMT. FZD8 mRNA is upregulated in multiple prostate cancer datasets and in metastatic cancer cell lines in vitro and in vivo. Analysis of patient samples reveals increased levels of FZD8 in cancer, correlating with Wnt-11. FZD8 co-localizes and co-immunoprecipitates with Wnt-11 and potentiates Wnt-11 activation of ATF2-dependent transcription. FZD8 silencing reduces prostate cancer cell migration, invasion, three-dimensional (3D) organotypic cell growth, expression of EMT-related genes, and TGF-β/Smad-dependent signaling. Mechanistically, FZD8 forms a TGF-β-regulated complex with TGF-β receptors that is mediated by the extracellular domains of FZD8 and TGFBR1. Targeting FZD8 may therefore inhibit aberrant activation of both Wnt and TGF-β signals in prostate cancer

    Structural insights into the role of the Smoothened cysteine-rich domain in Hedgehog signalling.

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    Smoothened (Smo) is a member of the Frizzled (FzD) class of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and functions as the key transducer in the Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway. Smo has an extracellular cysteine-rich domain (CRD), indispensable for its function and downstream Hh signalling. Despite its essential role, the functional contribution of the CRD to Smo signalling has not been clearly elucidated. However, given that the FzD CRD binds to the endogenous Wnt ligand, it has been proposed that the Smo CRD may bind its own endogenous ligand. Here we present the NMR solution structure of the Drosophila Smo CRD, and describe interactions between the glucocorticoid budesonide (Bud) and the Smo CRDs from both Drosophila and human. Our results highlight a function of the Smo CRD, demonstrating its role in binding to small-molecule modulators

    Structure-based Discovery of Novel Small Molecule Wnt Signaling Inhibitors by Targeting the Cysteine-rich Domain of Frizzled.

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    Frizzled is the earliest discovered glycosylated Wnt protein receptor and is critical for the initiation of Wnt signaling. Antagonizing Frizzled is effective in inhibiting the growth of multiple tumor types. The extracellular N terminus of Frizzled contains a conserved cysteine-rich domain that directly interacts with Wnt ligands. Structure-based virtual screening and cell-based assays were used to identify five small molecules that can inhibit canonical Wnt signaling and have low IC50 values in the micromolar range. NMR experiments confirmed that these compounds specifically bind to the Wnt binding site on the Frizzled8 cysteine-rich domain with submicromolar dissociation constants. Our study confirms the feasibility of targeting the Frizzled cysteine-rich domain as an effective way of regulating canonical Wnt signaling. These small molecules can be further optimized into more potent therapeutic agents for regulating abnormal Wnt signaling by targeting Frizzled

    G-Protein coupled receptor signalling in pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiovascular cells: Implications for disease modelling

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    Human pluripotent stem cell derivatives show promise as an in vitro platform to study a range of human cardiovascular diseases. A better understanding of the biology of stem cells and their cardiovascular derivatives will help to understand the strengths and limitations of this new model system. G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are key regulators of stem cell maintenance and differentiation and have an important role in cardiovascular cell signaling. In this review, we will therefore describe the state of knowledge concerning the regulatory role of GPCRs in both the generation and function of pluripotent stem cell derived-cardiomyocytes, -endothelial, and -vascular smooth muscle cells. We will consider how far the in vitro disease models recapitulate authentic GPCR signaling and provide a useful basis for discovery of disease mechanisms or design of therapeutic strategies

    Identification of a WNT5A-Responsive Degradation Domain in the Kinesin Superfamily Protein KIF26B.

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    Noncanonical WNT pathways function independently of the β-catenin transcriptional co-activator to regulate diverse morphogenetic and pathogenic processes. Recent studies showed that noncanonical WNTs, such as WNT5A, can signal the degradation of several downstream effectors, thereby modulating these effectors' cellular activities. The protein domain(s) that mediates the WNT5A-dependent degradation response, however, has not been identified. By coupling protein mutagenesis experiments with a flow cytometry-based degradation reporter assay, we have defined a protein domain in the kinesin superfamily protein KIF26B that is essential for WNT5A-dependent degradation. We found that a human disease-causing KIF26B mutation located at a conserved amino acid within this domain compromises the ability of WNT5A to induce KIF26B degradation. Using pharmacological perturbation, we further uncovered a role of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) in WNT5A regulation of KIF26B degradation. Lastly, based on the identification of the WNT5A-responsive domain, we developed a new reporter system that allows for efficient profiling of WNT5A-KIF26B signaling activity in both somatic and stem cells. In conclusion, our study identifies a new protein domain that mediates WNT5A-dependent degradation of KIF26B and provides a new tool for functional characterization of noncanonical WNT5A signaling in cells
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