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Roles of Wnt Target Genes in the Journey of Cancer Stem Cells

by Jee-Heun Kim 1,†, So-Yeon Park 1,2,†, Youngsoo Jun 1,2,3, Ji-Young Kim 4 and Jeong-Seok Nam 1,2,3,*
1
School of Life Sciences, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Korea
2
Cell Logistics Research Center, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Korea
3
Silver Health Bio Research Center, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Korea
4
Laboratory Animal Resource Center, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwnagju 61005, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1604; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18081604
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
The importance of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in cancer stem cells (CSCs) has been acknowledged; however, the mechanism through which it regulates the biological function of CSCs and promotes cancer progression remains elusive. Hence, to understand the intricate mechanism by which Wnt controls stemness, the specific downstream target genes of Wnt were established by analyzing the genetic signatures of multiple types of metastatic cancers based on gene set enrichment. By focusing on the molecular function of Wnt target genes, the biological roles of Wnt were interpreted in terms of CSC dynamics from initiation to metastasis. Wnt signaling participates in cancer initiation by generating CSCs from normal stem cells or non-CSCs and augmenting persistent growth at the primary region, which is resistant to anti-cancer therapy. Moreover, it assists CSCs in invading nearby tissues and in entering the blood stream, during which the negative feedback of the Wnt signaling pathway maintains CSCs in a dormant state that is suitable for survival. When CSCs arrive at distant organs, another burst of Wnt signaling induces CSCs to succeed in re-initiation and colonization. This comprehensive understanding of Wnt target genes provides a plausible explanation for how Wnt allows CSCs variation during cancer progression. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer stem cell; Wnt signaling; initiation; persistence; invasion; migration; metastasis cancer stem cell; Wnt signaling; initiation; persistence; invasion; migration; metastasis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kim, J.-H.; Park, S.-Y.; Jun, Y.; Kim, J.-Y.; Nam, J.-S. Roles of Wnt Target Genes in the Journey of Cancer Stem Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1604.

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