Apc regulates the function of hematopoietic stem cells largely through ?-catenin-dependent mechanisms.
ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence suggests that adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) plays a critical role in the maintenance of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSCs/HPCs). The molecular pathways responsible for the function of Apc in HSCs/HPCs remain unclear. By genetic approach, we demonstrated that inactivation of ?-catenin rescued the exhaustion of Apc-deficient HSCs/HPCs, thereby preventing bone marrow failure in Apc-deficient mice. ?-catenin loss inhibited the excessive proliferation and apoptosis of Apc-deficient HSCs/HPCs, as well as their defects in myeloid and erythroid differentiation. In addition, loss of ?-catenin reversed the down-regulation of Cdkn1a, Cdkn1b, and Mcl1 induced by Apc ablation in Lin(-)Sca(+)c-Kit(+). In assays of long-term stem cell function, the HSCs with deficiency of both Apc and ?-catenin displayed a significantly enhanced self-renewal capacity compared with ?-catenin-deficient and control HSCs. Our findings suggest that Apc regulates the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of HSCs/HPCs largely through a ?-catenin-mediated pathway. They also indicate that multiple downstream targets of Apc including ?-catenin may coordinately regulate HSC self-renewal.
Project description:The adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) tumor suppressor is involved in the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer via regulation of the Wnt signaling cascade. In addition, Apc plays an important role in multiple cellular functions, including cell migration and adhesion, spindle assembly, and chromosome segregation. However, its role during adult hematopoiesis is unknown. We show that conditional inactivation of Apc in vivo dramatically increases apoptosis and enhances cell cycle entry of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs)/ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), leading to their rapid disappearance and bone marrow failure. The defect in HSCs/HPCs caused by Apc ablation is cell autonomous. In addition, we found that loss of Apc leads to exhaustion of the myeloid progenitor pool (common myeloid progenitor, granulocyte-monocyte progenitor, and megakaryocyte-erythroid progenitor), as well as the lymphoid-primed multipotent progenitor pool. Down-regulation of the genes encoding Cdkn1a, Cdkn1b, and Mcl1 occurs after acute Apc excision in candidate HSC populations. Together, our data demonstrate that Apc is essential for HSC and HPC maintenance and survival.
Project description:The canonical Wnt/?-catenin signaling is activated during development, tumorigenesis, and in adult homeostasis, yet its role in maintenance of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells is not firmly established. Here, we demonstrate that conditional expression of an active form of ?-catenin in vivo induces a marked increase in the frequency of apoptosis in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSCs/HPCs). Activation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling in HPCs in vitro elevates the activity of caspases 3 and 9 and leads to a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (??(m)), indicating that it induces the intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. In vivo, expression of activated ?-catenin in HPCs is associated with down-regulation of Bcl2 and expression of Casp3. Bone marrow transplantation assays reveal that enhanced cell survival by a Bcl2 transgene re-establishes the reconstitution capacity of HSCs/HPCs that express activated ?-catenin. In addition, a Bcl2 transgene prevents exhaustion of these HSCs/HPCs in vivo. Our data suggest that activation of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway contributes to the defective function of HPCs in part by deregulating their survival.
Project description:Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutations cause Wnt pathway activation in human cancers. Current models for APC action emphasize its role in promoting ?-catenin degradation downstream of Wnt receptors. Unexpectedly, we find that blocking Wnt receptor activity in APC-deficient cells inhibits Wnt signaling independently of Wnt ligand. We also show that inducible loss of APC is rapidly followed by Wnt receptor activation and increased ?-catenin levels. In contrast, APC2 loss does not promote receptor activation. We show that APC exists in a complex with clathrin and that Wnt pathway activation in APC-deficient cells requires clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Finally, we demonstrate conservation of this mechanism in Drosophila intestinal stem cells. We propose a model in which APC and APC2 function to promote ?-catenin degradation, and APC also acts as a molecular "gatekeeper" to block receptor activation via the clathrin pathway.
Project description:Rapidly cycling fetal and neonatal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) generate a pool of quiescent adult HSCs after establishing hematopoiesis in the bone marrow. We report an essential role for the trithorax group gene absent, small, or homeotic 1-like (Ash1l) at this developmental transition. Emergence and expansion of Ash1l-deficient fetal/neonatal HSCs were preserved; however, in young adult animals, HSCs were profoundly depleted. Ash1l-deficient adult HSCs had markedly decreased quiescence and reduced cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1b/c (Cdkn1b/1c) expression and failed to establish long-term trilineage bone marrow hematopoiesis after transplantation to irradiated recipients. Wild-type HSCs could efficiently engraft when transferred to unirradiated, Ash1l-deficient recipients, indicating increased availability of functional HSC niches in these mice. Ash1l deficiency also decreased expression of multiple Hox genes in hematopoietic progenitors. Ash1l cooperated functionally with mixed-lineage leukemia 1 (Mll1), as combined loss of Ash1l and Mll1, but not isolated Ash1l or Mll1 deficiency, induced overt hematopoietic failure. Our results uncover a trithorax group gene network that controls quiescence, niche occupancy, and self-renewal potential in adult HSCs.
Project description:beta-catenin acts as a critical regulator of gastrointestinal homeostasis through its control of the Wnt signaling pathway, and genetic or epigenetic lesions which activate Wnt signaling are the primary feature of colon cancer. beta-catenin is also a key element of mechanotranscription pathways, leading to upregulation of master developmental gene expression during Drosophila gastrulation, or regulating mammalian bone development and maintenance. Here we investigate the impact of mechanical stimulation on the initiation of colon cancer. Myc and Twist1, two oncogenes regulated through beta-catenin, are expressed in response to transient compression in APC deficient (APC(1638N+)) colon tissue explants, but not in wild-type colon explants. Mechanical stimulation of APC(1638N+) tissue leads to the phosphorylation of beta-catenin at tyrosine 654, the site of interaction with E-cadherin, as well as to increased nuclear localization of beta-catenin. The mechanical activation of Myc and Twist1 expression in APC(1638N+) colon can be prevented by blocking beta-catenin phosphorylation using Src kinase inhibitors. Microenvironmental signals are known to cooperate with genetic lesions to promote the nuclear beta-catenin accumulation which drives colon cancer. Here we demonstrate that when APC is limiting, mechanical strain, such as that associated with intestinal transit or tumor growth, can be interpreted by cells of preneoplastic colon tissue as a signal to initiate a beta-catenin dependent transcriptional program characteristic of cancer.
Project description:The ablation of Apc function or the constitutive activation of beta-catenin in embryonic mouse oral epithelium results in supernumerary tooth formation, but the underlying mechanisms and whether adult tissues retain this potential are unknown. Here we show that supernumerary teeth can form from multiple regions of the jaw and that they are properly mineralized, vascularized, innervated and can start to form roots. Even adult dental tissues can form new teeth in response to either epithelial Apc loss-of-function or beta-catenin activation, and the effect of Apc deficiency is mediated by beta-catenin. The formation of supernumerary teeth via Apc loss-of-function is non-cell-autonomous. A small number of Apc-deficient cells is sufficient to induce surrounding wild-type epithelial and mesenchymal cells to participate in the formation of new teeth. Strikingly, Msx1, which is necessary for endogenous tooth development, is dispensable for supernumerary tooth formation. In addition, we identify Fgf8, a known tooth initiation marker, as a direct target of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. These studies identify key mechanistic features responsible for supernumerary tooth formation.
Project description:Alterations in the transcriptional activity of the beta-catenin-Tcf complex have been associated with the earlier stages of colonic transformation. We show here that the activation of protein kinase C by the phorbol ester PMA in several intestinal cell lines increases the levels of beta-catenin detected in the nucleus and augments the transcriptional activity mediated by beta-catenin. The response to PMA was not related to modifications in the cytosolic levels of beta-catenin and was observed not only in cells with wild-type adenomatous polyposis coli protein (APC) but also in APC-deficient cells. Binding assays in vitro revealed that PMA facilitates the interaction of the beta-catenin with the nuclear structure. Our results therefore show that beta-catenin-mediated transcription can be regulated independently of the presence of APC.
Project description:APC is considered a gatekeeper for colorectal cancer (CRC). Cells with heterozygous APC mutations have altered expression profiles suggesting that the first APC hit may help set the stage for subsequent transformation. Therefore, we measured transformation efficiency following what we have designated as 'simultaneous' versus 'stepwise' Apc loss. We combined a conditional Apc allele (Apc(CKO)) with a Cre reporter gene and an out-of-frame Cre allele (Pms2(cre)) that stochastically becomes functional by a frameshift mutation in single cells. Loss of one Apc allele (Apc(CKO/+)) had little consequence, whereas simultaneous loss of both Apc alleles (Apc(CKO/CKO)) resulted in increased clonal expansion (crypt fission), consistent with the gatekeeper function of Apc. Interestingly, our analyses showed that most of the Apc-deficient crypts in Apc(CKO/CKO) mice appeared normal, with morphological transformation, including ?-catenin deregulation, occurring in only 17% of such crypts. To determine whether transformation efficiency was different following stepwise Apc loss, we combined Apc(CKO) with a germline mutant allele, either Apc(Min) or Apc(1638N). Transformation efficiency following stepwise Apc loss (Apc(Min/CKO) or Apc(1638N/CKO)) was increased five-fold and essentially all of the Apc-deficient cells were dysplastic. In summary, our data suggest that the gatekeeper function of Apc consists of two roles, clonal expansion and morphological transformation, because simultaneous Apc loss frequently leads to occult clonal expansion without morphological transformation, whereas stepwise Apc loss more often results in visible neoplasia. Finally, that Apc-deficient cells in certain scenarios can retain a normal phenotype is unexpected and may have clinical implications for surveillance strategies to prevent CRC.
Project description:A key characteristic of stem cells and cancer cells is their ability to self-renew. To test if Wnt signaling can regulate the self-renewal of both stem cells and cancer cells in the hematopoietic system, we developed mice that lack beta-catenin in their hematopoietic cells. Here we show that beta-catenin-deficient mice can form HSCs, but that these cells are deficient in long-term growth and maintenance. Moreover, beta-catenin deletion causes a profound reduction in the ability of mice to develop BCR-ABL-induced chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), while allowing progression of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). These studies demonstrate that Wnt signaling is required for the self-renewal of normal and neoplastic stem cells in the hematopoietic system.
Project description:Mutations in Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) underlie familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), an inherited cancer syndrome characterized by the widespread development of colorectal polyps. APC is best known as a scaffold protein in the ?-catenin destruction complex, whose activity is antagonized by canonical Wnt signaling. Whether other effector pathways mediate APC's tumor suppressor function is less clear. Here we report that activation of YAP, the downstream effector of the Hippo signaling pathway, is a general hallmark of tubular adenomas from FAP patients. We show that APC functions as a scaffold protein that facilitates the Hippo kinase cascade by interacting with Sav1 and Lats1. Consistent with the molecular link between APC and the Hippo signaling pathway, genetic analysis reveals that YAP is absolutely required for the development of APC-deficient adenomas. These findings establish Hippo-YAP signaling as a critical effector pathway downstream from APC, independent from its involvement in the ?-catenin destruction complex.