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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Apr 15;22(8):1121-34. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-10-0845. Epub 2011 Feb 16.

Loss of desmocollin-2 confers a tumorigenic phenotype to colonic epithelial cells through activation of Akt/β-catenin signaling.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Desmocollin-2 (Dsc2) and desmoglein-2 (Dsg2) are transmembrane cell adhesion proteins of desmosomes. Reduced expression of Dsc2 has been reported in colorectal carcinomas, suggesting that Dsc2 may play a role in the development and/or progression of colorectal cancer. However, no studies have examined the mechanistic contribution of Dsc2 deficiency to tumorigenesis. Here we report that loss of Dsc2 promotes cell proliferation and enables tumor growth in vivo through the activation of Akt/β-catenin signaling. Inhibition of Akt prevented the increase in β-catenin-dependent transcription and proliferation following Dsc2 knockdown and attenuated the in vivo growth of Dsc2-deficient cells. Taken together, our results provide evidence that loss of Dsc2 contributes to the growth of colorectal cancer cells and highlight a novel mechanism by which the desmosomal cadherins regulate β-catenin signaling.

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