Sporadic colorectal cancer initiates with mutations in APC or its degradation target β-catenin, producing TCF-dependent nuclear transcription driving tumorigenesis. The intestinal epithelial receptor, GUCY2C, with its canonical paracrine hormone guanylin, regulates homeostatic signaling along the crypt-surface axis opposing tumorigenesis. Here, we reveal that expression of the guanylin hormone, but not the GUCY2C receptor, is lost at the earliest stages of transformation in APC-dependent tumors in humans and mice. Hormone loss, which silences GUCY2C signaling, reflects transcriptional repression mediated by mutant APC-β-catenin-TCF programs in the nucleus. These studies support a pathophysiological model of intestinal tumorigenesis in which mutant APC-β-catenin-TCF transcriptional regulation eliminates guanylin expression at tumor initiation, silencing GUCY2C signaling which, in turn, dysregulates intestinal homeostatic mechanisms contributing to tumor progression. They expand the mechanistic paradigm for colorectal cancer from a disease of irreversible mutations in APC and β-catenin to one of guanylin hormone loss whose replacement, and reconstitution of GUCY2C signaling, could prevent tumorigenesis.
Blomain, Erik S; Rappaport, Jeffrey A; Pattison, Amanda M; Bashir, Babar; Caparosa, Ellen; Stem, Jonathan; Snook, Adam E; and Waldman, Scott A, "APC-β-catenin-TCF signaling silences the intestinal guanylin-GUCY2C tumor suppressor axis." (2020). Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Faculty Papers. Paper 119.
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