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Hepatology. 2010 Nov;52(5):1680-9. doi: 10.1002/hep.23848.

The oncogenic effect of sulfatase 2 in human hepatocellular carcinoma is mediated in part by glypican 3-dependent Wnt activation.

Author information

  • 1Miles and Shirley Fiterman Center for Digestive Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Abstract

Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) act as coreceptors or storage sites for growth factors and cytokines such as fibroblast growth factor and Wnts. Glypican 3 (GPC3) is the most highly expressed HSPG in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Sulfatase 2 (SULF2), an enzyme with 6-O-desulfatase activity on HSPGs, is up-regulated in 60% of primary HCCs and is associated with a worse prognosis. We have previously shown that the oncogenic effect of SULF2 in HCC may be mediated in part through up-regulation of GPC3. Here we demonstrate that GPC3 stimulates the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and mediates the oncogenic function of SULF2 in HCC. Wnt signaling in vitro and in vivo was assessed in SULF2-negative Hep3B HCC cells transfected with SULF2 and in SULF2-expressing Huh7 cells transfected with short hairpin RNA targeting SULF2. The interaction between GPC3, SULF2, and Wnt3a was assessed by coimmunoprecipitation and flow cytometry. β-catenin-dependent transcriptional activity was assessed with the TOPFLASH (T cell factor reporter plasmid) luciferase assay. In HCC cells, SULF2 increased cell surface GPC3 and Wnt3a expression, stabilized β-catenin, and activated T cell factor transcription factor activity and expression of the Wnt/β-catenin target gene cyclin D1. Opposite effects were observed in SULF2-knockdown models. In vivo, nude mouse xenografts established from SULF2-transfected Hep3B cells showed enhanced GPC3, Wnt3a, and β-catenin levels.

CONCLUSION:

Together, these findings identify a novel mechanism mediating the oncogenic function of SULF2 in HCC that includes GPC3-mediated activation of Wnt signaling via the Wnt3a/glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta axis.

PMID:
20725905
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2967616
Free PMC Article

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