Abstract: T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer-binding factor (TCF/LEF) proteins (TCFs) from the High Mobility Group (HMG) box family act as the main downstream effectors of the Wnt signaling pathway. The mammalian TCF/LEF family comprises four nuclear factors designated TCF7, LEF1, TCF7L1, and TCF7L2 (also known as TCF1, LEF1, TCF3, and TCF4, respectively). The proteins display common structural features and are often expressed in overlapping patterns implying their redundancy. Such redundancy was indeed observed in gene targeting studies; however, individual family members also exhibit unique features that are not recapitulated by the related proteins. In the present viewpoint, we summarized our current knowledge about the specific features of individual TCFs, namely structural-functional studies, posttranslational modifications, interacting partners, and phenotypes obtained upon gene targeting in the mouse. In addition, we employed several publicly available databases and web tools to evaluate the expression patterns and production of gene-specific isoforms of the TCF/LEF family members in human cells and tissues.
Abstract: The wingless (Wnt) signaling is suggested as a fundamental hierarchical pathway in regulation of proliferation and differentiation of cells. The Wnt ligands are small proteins of about 40 kDa essentially for regulation and initiation of the Wnt activity. They are secreted proteins requiring acylation for activity in the Wnt signaling cascade and for functional interactivity with transmembrane proteins. Dual lipidation is important for posttranslational activation of the overwhelming number of Wnt proteins and is probably involved in their spatial distribution. The intestinal mucosa, where Wnt signaling is essential in configuration and maintenance, is an established model to study Wnt proteins and their role in carcinogenesis and cancer. The intestinal crypt-villus/crypt-plateau axis, a cellular system with self-renewal, proliferation, and differentiation, is tightly coordinated by a Wnt gradient. In the review, some attention is given to Wnt3, Wnt3A, and Wnt2B as important members of the Wnt family to address the role of lipidation and modifiers of Wnt proteins in intestinal carcinogenesis. Wnt3 is an important player in establishing the Wnt gradient in intestinal crypts and is mainly produced by Paneth cells. Wnt2B is characterized as a mitochondrial protein and shuttles between mitochondria and the nucleus. Porcupine and ACSL5, a long-chain fatty acid activating enzyme, are introduced as modifiers of Wnts and as interesting strategy to targeting Wnt-driven carcinogenesis.
Abstract: Human development uses a remarkably small number of signal transduction pathways to organize vastly complicated tissues. These pathways are commonly associated with disease in adults if activated inappropriately. One such signaling pathway, Wnt, solves the too few pathways conundrum by having many alternate pathways within the Wnt network. The main or “canonical” Wnt pathway has been studied in great detail, and among its numerous downstream components, several have been identified as drug targets that have led to cancer treatments currently in clinical trials. In contrast, the non-canonical Wnt pathways are less well characterized, and few if any possible drug targets exist to tackle cancers caused by dysregulation of these Wnt offshoots. In this review, we focus on two molecules—Protein Tyrosine Kinase 7 (Ptk7) and Mutated in Colorectal Cancer (Mcc)—that do not fit perfectly into the non-canonical pathways described to date and whose roles in cancer are ill defined. We will summarize work from our laboratories as well as many others revealing unexpected links between these two proteins and Wnt signaling both in cancer progression and during vertebrate and invertebrate embryonic development. We propose that future studies focused on delineating the signaling machinery downstream of Ptk7 and Mcc will provide new, hitherto unanticipated drug targets to combat cancer metastasis.
Abstract: Research over the last decade recognized the importance of novel molecular pathways in pathogenesis of intracranial meningiomas. In this review, we focus on human brain tumours meningiomas and the involvement of Wnt signalling pathway genes and proteins in this common brain tumour, describing their known functional effects. Meningiomas originate from the meningeal layers of the brain and the spinal cord. Most meningiomas have benign clinical behaviour and are classified as grade I by World Health Organization (WHO). However, up to 20% histologically classified as atypical (grade II) or anaplastic (grade III) are associated with higher recurrent rate and have overall less favourable clinical outcome. Recently, there is emerging evidence that multiple signalling pathways including Wnt pathway contribute to the formation and growth of meningiomas. In the review we present the synopsis on meningioma histopathology and genetics and discuss our research regarding Wnt in meningioma. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, a process in which Wnt signalling plays an important role, is shortly discussed.
Abstract: Aberrant WNT signaling underlies cancerous transformation and growth in many tissues, such as the colon, breast, liver, and others. Downregulation of the WNT pathway is a desired mode of development of targeted therapies against these cancers. Despite the urgent need, no WNT signaling-directed drugs currently exist, and only very few candidates have reached early phase clinical trials. Among different strategies to develop WNT-targeting anti-cancer therapies, repositioning of existing drugs previously approved for other diseases is a promising approach. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, the anti-leprotic clofazimine, and the anti-trypanosomal suramin are among examples of drugs having recently revealed WNT-targeting activities. In total, 16 human-use drug compounds have been found to be working through the WNT pathway and show promise for their prospective repositioning against various cancers. Advances, hurdles, and prospects of developing these molecules as potential drugs against WNT-dependent cancers, as well as approaches for discovering new ones for repositioning, are the foci of the current review.
Abstract: The Wnt pathway has emerged as a key signaling cascade participating in mammary organogenesis and breast oncogenesis. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge of how the pathway regulates stem cells and normal development of the mammary gland, and discuss how its various components contribute to breast carcinoma pathology.