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Cancer Lett. 2002 Sep 8;183(1):95-101.

Differential expression of Wnt genes, beta-catenin and E-cadherin in human brain tumors.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Kaohsiung Medical University, 80708, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Wnt regulates developmental and oncogenic processes through its downstream effector, beta-catenin, and a set of other intracellular regulators that are largely conserved among species. E-cadherin was discovered as a protein associated with beta-catenin which plays a crucial role in cell-cell adhesion. To further understand the molecular basis of Wnt signaling pathway and E-cadherin in brain tumorigenesis, the expression of four Wnt genes (Wnt1, Wnt5a, Wnt10b and Wnt13) and E-cadherin were analyzed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. In addition, their downstream effector, beta-catenin, was also investigated. The results showed that the expression of Wnt5a (41/45), Wnt10b (37/45), and Wnt13 (35/45) were found in brain tumors, whereas Wnt1 (6/45) was shown to be less related. Interestingly, E-cadherin was only expressed in a few cases of astrocytoma (2/16), whereas it was expressed in most meningioma (14/15) and pituitary adenoma tumors (12/14). There was no apparent difference of beta-catenin expression profile in brain tumors; however, the sequencing data of beta-catenin showed two mutations on speculative phosphorylation sites, S73F and S23G in astrocytoma. Furthermore, an in vitro functional assay showed that S73F and S23G mutants of beta-catenin did not affect transcriptional activity in TCF-4-leuciferase reporter construct, suggesting that they may need more complex factors to participate in astrocytoma. Taken together, our data suggest that the mutations of beta-catenin together with E-cadherin and Wnt signaling might be involved in brain tumorigenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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