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Oncogene. 2003 Mar 13;22(10):1536-45.

Wnt signaling in B-cell neoplasia.

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Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, national Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Wnts comprise a family of secreted proteins that interact with receptors consisting of a Frizzled (Fz) family member alone or complexed with LDL receptor-related proteins (LRP5/6). Wnt signaling plays a crucial role in both development and differentiation, and activation of a 'canonical' Wnt pathway resulting in beta-catenin stabilization is associated with several types of human cancers. To date, little is known about potential Wnt signaling in mature lymphocytes or lymphoid neoplasia. Herein, we have analysed Wnt signaling in mature B cells (lymphomas) and plasma cells (multiple myeloma). Both Fz and LRP5/6 mRNAs were expressed in myeloma lines, but LRP5/6 were not observed in lymphomas. In myelomas, a canonical Wnt signaling pathway was activated following treatment with Wnt-3a as assessed by accumulation of beta-catenin, but beta-catenin levels actually decreased in lymphoma cells. Wnt-3a treatment further led to striking morphological changes in myeloma cells accompanied by rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. Morphological changes were associated with a second Wnt pathway dependent on Rho activation. These results suggest that Wnt responsiveness is a stage-specific phenomenon in B-cell development and that the morphological changes associated with Wnt signaling may play a role in the motility and metastatic potential of myeloma cells.

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