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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Apr;71(7):1305-14. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1444-8. Epub 2013 Aug 18.

Tetraspanin TSPAN12 regulates tumor growth and metastasis and inhibits β-catenin degradation.

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  • 1Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.


Ablation of tetraspanin protein TSPAN12 from human MDA-MB-231 cells significantly decreased primary tumor xenograft growth, while increasing tumor apoptosis. Furthermore, TSPAN12 removal markedly enhanced tumor-endothelial interactions and increased metastasis to mouse lungs. TSPAN12 removal from human MDA-MB-231 cells also caused diminished association between FZD4 (a key canonical Wnt pathway receptor) and its co-receptor LRP5. The result likely explains substantially enhanced proteosomal degradation of β-catenin, a key effecter of canonical Wnt signaling. Consistent with disrupted canonical Wnt signaling, TSPAN12 ablation altered expression of LRP5, Naked 1 and 2, DVL2, DVL3, Axin 1, and GSKβ3 proteins. TSPAN12 ablation also altered expression of several genes regulated by β-catenin (e.g. CCNA1, CCNE2, WISP1, ID4, SFN, ME1) that may help to explain altered tumor growth and metastasis. In conclusion, these results provide the first evidence for TSPAN12 playing a role in supporting primary tumor growth and suppressing metastasis. TSPAN12 appears to function by stabilizing FZD4-LRP5 association, in support of canonical Wnt-pathway signaling, leading to enhanced β-catenin expression and function.

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