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PLoS One. 2010 Aug 12;5(8):e12109. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012109.

Positive feedback regulation between phospholipase D and Wnt signaling promotes Wnt-driven anchorage-independent growth of colorectal cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, College of Natural Science, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea.



Aberrant activation of the canonical Wnt/beta-catenin pathway occurs in almost all colorectal cancers and contributes to their growth, invasion and survival. Phopholipase D (PLD) has been implicated in progression of colorectal carcinoma However, an understanding of the targets and regulation of this important pathway remains incomplete and besides, relationship between Wnt signaling and PLD is not known.


Here, we demonstrate that PLD isozymes, PLD1 and PLD2 are direct targets and positive feedback regulators of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Wnt3a and Wnt mimetics significantly enhanced the expression of PLDs at a transcriptional level in HCT116 colorectal cancer cells, whereas silencing of beta-catenin gene expression or utilization of a dominant negative form of T cell factor-4 (TCF-4) inhibited expression of PLDs. Moreover, both PLD1 and PLD2 were highly induced in colon, liver and stomach tissues of mice after injection of LiCl, a Wnt mimetic. Wnt3a stimulated formation of the beta-catenin/TCF complexes to two functional TCF-4-binding elements within the PLD2 promoter as assessed by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Suppressing PLD using gene silencing or selective inhibitor blocked the ability of beta-catenin to transcriptionally activate PLD and other Wnt target genes by preventing formation of the beta-catenin/TCF-4 complex, whereas tactics to elevate intracellular levels of phosphatidic acid, the product of PLD activity, enhanced these effects. Here we show that PLD is necessary for Wnt3a-driven invasion and anchorage-independent growth of colon cancer cells.


PLD isozyme acts as a novel transcriptional target and positive feedback regulator of Wnt signaling, and then promotes Wnt-driven anchorage-independent growth of colorectal cancer cells. We propose that therapeutic interventions targeting PLD may confer a clinical benefit in Wnt/beta-catenin-driven malignancies.

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