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Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Feb;24(4):465-73. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E12-09-0662. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

β-Catenin-dependent lysosomal targeting of internalized tumor necrosis factor-α suppresses caspase-8 activation in apoptosis-resistant colon cancer cells.

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Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0820, USA.


The Wnt/β-catenin pathway is constitutively activated in more than 90% of human colorectal cancer. Activated β-catenin stimulates cell proliferation and survival, however, its antiapoptotic mechanisms are not fully understood. We show here that activated β-catenin is required to suppress caspase-8 activation, but only in colon cancer cells that are resistant to tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF)-induced apoptosis. We found that lysosomal delivery of internalized TNF occurred at a faster pace in apoptosis-resistant than in apoptosis-sensitive colon cancer cells. Retardation of endosomal trafficking through vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase) inhibition enhanced caspase-8 activation in apoptosis-resistant but not apoptosis-sensitive cells. Interestingly, knockdown of β-catenin also prolonged TNF association with the early endosome and enhanced caspase-8 activation in apoptosis-resistant but not apoptosis-sensitive colon cancer cells. In a mouse model of inflammation-associated colon tumors, we found nuclear expression of β-catenin, resistance to TNF-induced apoptosis, and reactivation of apoptosis in vivo after cotreatment of TNF with a V-ATPase inhibitor. Together these results suggest that activated β-catenin can facilitate endosomal trafficking of internalized TNF to suppress caspase-8 activation in colon cancer cells.

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