The Wnt signaling pathway is a crucial regulator of the intestinal epithelium homeostasis and is altered in most colon cancers. While the role of aberrant canonical, β-catenin-dependent Wnt signaling has been well established in colon cancer promotion, much less is known about the role played by noncanonical, β-catenin-independent Wnt signaling in this type of cancer. This work aimed to characterize the noncanonical signal transduction pathway in colon cancer cells. To this end, we used the prototype noncanonical ligand, Wnt5a, in comparison with Wnt3a, the prototype of a canonical β-catenin activating ligand. The analysis of the expression profile of Wnt receptors in colon cancer cell lines showed a clear increase in both level expression and variety of Frizzled receptor types expressed in colon cancer cells compared with non-malignant cells. We found that Wnt5a activates a typical Wnt/Ca++ - noncanonical signaling pathway in colon malignant cells, inducing the hyperphosphorylation of Dvl1, Dvl2 and Dvl3, promoting Ca++ mobilization as a result of phospholipase C (PLC) activation via pertussis toxin-sensitive G-protein, and inducing PLC-dependent cell migration. We also found that while the co-receptor Ror2 tyrosine kinase activity is not required for Ca++ mobilization-induced by Wnt5a, it is required for the inhibitory effects of Wnt5a on the β-catenin-dependent transcriptional activity. Unexpectedly, we found that although the prototype canonical Wnt3a ligand was unique in stimulating the β-catenin-dependent transcriptional activity, it also simultaneously activated PLC, promoted Ca++ mobilization, and induced Rho kinase and PLC-dependent cell migration. Our data indicate, therefore, that a Wnt ligand can activate at the same time the so-called Wnt canonical and noncanonical pathways inducing the formation of complex signaling networks to integrate both pathways in colon cancer cells.
Última actualización: 08/07/2020