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Cancers 2016, 8(6), 54; doi:10.3390/cancers8060054

Control of Wnt Receptor Turnover by R-spondin-ZNRF3/RNF43 Signaling Module and Its Dysregulation in Cancer

Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, 181 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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Academic Editors: Renée van Amerongen and Walter Birchmeier
Received: 30 March 2016 / Revised: 23 May 2016 / Accepted: 2 June 2016 / Published: 8 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wnt Signaling in Cancer)
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Abstract

Aberrant activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is frequently found in various cancers, often through mutations of downstream components. Inhibiting β-catenin signaling in tumors with downstream pathway mutations remains challenging, due to a lack of favorable targets. On the other hand, targeting upstream components of the Wnt pathway is rather straightforward. However, it is difficult to identify tumors addicted to autocrine or paracrine Wnt signaling. Discovery of the R-spondin-ZNRF3/RNF43 signaling module and its genetic alterations in cancers represents a breakthrough in this area. Membrane E3 ligase ZNRF3 and RNF43 are critical negative feedback regulators of the Wnt pathway, which function through promoting ubiquitination and degradation of Wnt receptors. R-spondin proteins (RSPO1-4) serve as natural antagonists of ZNRF3/RNF43. To maintain strong and sustained Wnt/β-catenin signaling, cancers need to overcome ZNRF3/RNF43-mediated feedback inhibition. Indeed, mutations of RNF43/ZNRF3 and recurrent translocations of RSPO2/RSPO3 have recently been identified in various cancers. Significantly, genetic alterations in RNF43/ZNRF3/RSPO2/RSPO3 have shown promise as predictive biomarkers in pre-clinical models for the efficacy of upstream Wnt inhibitors. In this review, we will discuss the biology of the R-spondin-ZNRF3/RNF43 signaling module, cancer-associated alterations of this signaling module, and their value as biomarkers to identify Wnt-addicted tumors. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wnt signaling pathway; targeted therapy; RNF43; ZNRF3; R-spondin; Frizzled Wnt signaling pathway; targeted therapy; RNF43; ZNRF3; R-spondin; Frizzled
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hao, H.-X.; Jiang, X.; Cong, F. Control of Wnt Receptor Turnover by R-spondin-ZNRF3/RNF43 Signaling Module and Its Dysregulation in Cancer. Cancers 2016, 8, 54.

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