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Cadmium induces Wnt signaling to upregulate proliferation and survival genes in sub-confluent kidney proximal tubule cells

Author(s): Chakraborty Prabir | Lee Wing-Kee | Molitor Malte | Wolff Natascha | Thévenod Frank

Journal: Molecular Cancer
ISSN 1476-4598

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 102;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background The class 1 carcinogen cadmium (Cd2+) disrupts the E-cadherin/β-catenin complex of epithelial adherens junctions (AJs) and causes renal cancer. Deregulation of E-cadherin adhesion and changes in Wnt/β-catenin signaling are known to contribute to carcinogenesis. Results We investigated Wnt signaling after Cd2+-induced E-cadherin disruption in sub-confluent cultured kidney proximal tubule cells (PTC). Cd2+ (25 μM, 3-9 h) caused nuclear translocation of β-catenin and triggered a Wnt response measured by TOPflash reporter assays. Cd2+ reduced the interaction of β-catenin with AJ components (E-cadherin, α-catenin) and increased binding to the transcription factor TCF4 of the Wnt pathway, which was upregulated and translocated to the nucleus. While Wnt target genes (c-Myc, cyclin D1 and ABCB1) were up-regulated by Cd2+, electromobility shift assays showed increased TCF4 binding to cyclin D1 and ABCB1 promoter sequences with Cd2+. Overexpression of wild-type and mutant TCF4 confirmed Cd2+-induced Wnt signaling. Wnt signaling elicited by Cd2+ was not observed in confluent non-proliferating cells, which showed increased E-cadherin expression. Overexpression of E-cadherin reduced Wnt signaling, PTC proliferation and Cd2+ toxicity. Cd2+ also induced reactive oxygen species dependent expression of the pro-apoptotic ER stress marker and Wnt suppressor CHOP/GADD153 which, however, did not abolish Wnt response and cell viability. Conclusions Cd2+ induces Wnt signaling in PTC. Hence, Cd2+ may facilitate carcinogenesis of PTC by promoting Wnt pathway-mediated proliferation and survival of pre-neoplastic cells.
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