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J Pathol. 2011 Apr;223(5):574-83. doi: 10.1002/path.2820. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

LMP1 antagonizes WNT/β-catenin signalling through inhibition of WTX and promotes nasopharyngeal dysplasia but not tumourigenesis in LMP1(B95-8) transgenic mice.

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Department of Pathology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, PR China.


Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can induce cell transformation and tumourigenesis, but the mechanism is not understood. Previous studies have suggested that LMP1 acts through up-regulation of cellular proliferation pathways including the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, in which β-catenin is the central effector. Increased levels of β-catenin coupled with a decrease in E-cadherin lead to reduced cell adhesion. This pathway is antagonized by WTX (Wilms' tumour gene on the X chromosome), which can promote the ubiquitination and degradation of β-catenin. In the present study, we established L2/LMP1B(95 - 8) /EGFP transgenic mice to investigate the in vivo role of LMP1. Down-regulation of WTX and E-cadherin was accompanied by increased expression of β-catenin in these mice. Even though invasive tumours did not develop, dysplasia was seen in the nasopharynx and oropharynx epithelium of these transgenic mice. Analysis of LMP1(+) , WTX(+) , and LMP1 siRNA silenced HNE-1 cell lines demonstrated that WTX could exert a dominant role in LMP1-mediated WNT/β-catenin pathway regulation. This study indicates that LMP1 antagonizes the WNT/β-catenin pathway by inhibiting WTX, and this reduction in WTX is associated with epithelial dysplasia via regulation of the WNT/β-catenin pathway molecules E-cadherin and β-catenin. Further studies are required for a better understanding of the relationship between LMP1-mediated antagonization of the WNT/β-catenin pathway and tumourigenesis.

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