Functional significance of Wnt inhibitory factor-1 gene in kidney cancer

Kazumori Kawakami, Hiroshi Hirata, Soichiro Yamamura, Nobuyuki Kikuno, Sharanjot Saini, Shahana Majid, Yuichiro Tanaka, Ken Kawamoto, Hideki Enokida, Masayuki Nakagawa, Rajvir Dahiya
Cancer Research 2009 November 15, 69 (22): 8603-10
Wnt inhibitory factor-1 (WIF-1) has been identified as one of the secreted antagonists that bind Wnt protein. WIF-1 has been described as a tumor suppressor in various types of cancer. However, the molecular function of WIF-1 gene has never been examined in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Therefore, we hypothesized that WIF-1 functions as a tumor suppressor gene and overexpression of this gene may induce apoptosis and inhibit tumor growth in RCC cells. Immunohistochemistry and real-time reverse transcription-PCR revealed that WIF-1 was significantly downregulated in RCC samples and RCC cell lines, respectively. Bisulfite sequencing of the WIF-1 promoter region in RCC cell lines showed it to be densely methylated, whereas there was no methylation of WIF-1 promoter in normal kidney. Significant inhibition of cell growth and colony formation in WIF-1-transfected cells compared with controls were observed. WIF-1 transfection significantly induced apoptosis and suppressed in vivo tumor growth. Also, Wnt signaling activity and beta-catenin expression were reduced by WIF-1 transfection. In conclusion, this is the first report documenting that the WIF-1 is downregulated by promoter methylation and functions as a tumor suppressor gene by inducing apoptosis in RCC cells.

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