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Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Feb;21(3):902-15.

Gas6 induces growth, beta-catenin stabilization, and T-cell factor transcriptional activation in contact-inhibited C57 mammary cells.

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  • 1LNCIB (Laboratorio Nazionale Consorzio Interuniversitario Biotecnologie), 34012 Trieste, Italy.


Gas6 is a growth factor related to protein S that was identified as the ligand for the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family. In this study, we show that Gas6 induces a growth response in a cultured mammalian mammary cell line, C57MG. The presence of Gas6 in the medium induces growth after confluence and similarly causes cell cycle reentry of density-inhibited C57MG cells. We show that Axl RTK but not Rse is efficiently activated by Gas6 in density-inhibited C57MG cells. We have analyzed the signaling required for the Gas6 proliferative effect and found a requirement for PI3K-, S6K-, and Ras-activated pathways. We also demonstrate that Gas6 activates Akt and concomitantly inhibits GSK3 activity in a wortmannin-dependent manner. Interestingly, Gas6 induces up-regulation of cytosolic beta-catenin, while membrane-associated beta-catenin remains unaffected. Stabilization of beta-catenin in C57MG cells is correlated with activation of a T-cell factor (TCF)-responsive transcriptional element. We thus provide evidence that Gas6 is mitogenic and induces beta-catenin proto-oncogene stabilization and subsequent TCF/Lef transcriptional activation in a mammary system. These results suggest that Gas6-Axl interaction, through stabilization of beta-catenin, may have a role in mammary development and/or be involved in the progression of mammary tumors.

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