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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Jul;26(14):5284-99.

Wnt activation and alternative promoter repression of LEF1 in colon cancer.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Rm. B240, Medical Sciences I, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-4025, USA.


Alternative promoters within the LEF1 locus produce polypeptides of opposing biological activities. Promoter 1 produces full-length LEF-1 protein, which recruits beta-catenin to Wnt target genes. Promoter 2 produces a truncated form that cannot interact with beta-catenin and instead suppresses Wnt regulation of target genes. Here we show that promoter 1 is aberrantly activated in colon cancers because it is a direct target of the Wnt pathway. T-cell factor (TCF)-beta-catenin complexes bind to Wnt response elements in exon 1 and dynamically regulate chromatin acetylation and promoter 1 activity. Promoter 2 is delimited to the intron 2/exon 3 boundary and, like promoter 1, is also directly regulated by TCF-beta-catenin complexes. Promoter 2 is nevertheless silent in colon cancer because an upstream repressor selectively targets the basal promoter leading to destabilized TCF-beta-catenin binding. We conclude that the biological outcome of aberrant LEF1 activation in colon cancer is directed by differential promoter activation and repression.

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