CDX2 inhibits the proliferation and tumor formation of colon cancer cells by suppressing Wnt/β-catenin signaling via transactivation of GSK-3β and Axin2 expression

Junhui Yu, Dong Liu, Xuejun Sun, Kui Yang, Jianfeng Yao, Chen Cheng, Chunbao Wang, Jianbao Zheng
Cell Death & Disease 2019 January 10, 10 (1): 26
Caudal-related homeobox transcription factor 2 (CDX2), an intestine-specific nuclear transcription factor, has been strongly implicated in the tumourigenesis of various human cancers. However, the functional role of CDX2 in the development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC) is not well known. In this study, CDX2 knockdown in colon cancer cells promoted cell proliferation in vitro, accelerated tumor formation in vivo, and induced a cell cycle transition from G0/G1 to S phase, whereas CDX2 overexpression inhibited cell proliferation. TOP/FOP-Flash reporter assay showed that CDX2 knockdown or CDX2 overexpression significantly increased or decreased Wnt signaling activity. Western blot assay showed that downstream targets of Wnt signaling, including β-catenin, cyclin D1 and c-myc, were up-regulated or down-regulated in CDX2-knockdown or CDX2-overexpressing colon cancer cells. In addition, suppression of Wnt signaling by XAV-939 led to a marked suppression of the cell proliferation enhanced by CDX2 knockdown, whereas activation of this signaling by CHIR-99021 significantly enhanced the cell proliferation inhibited by CDX2 overexpression. Dual-luciferase reporter and quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation (qChIP) assays further confirmed that CDX2 transcriptionally activates glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) and axis inhibition protein 2 (Axin2) expression by directly binding to the promoter of GSK-3β and the upstream enhancer of Axin2. In conclusion, these results indicated that CDX2 inhibits the proliferation and tumor formation of colon cancer cells by suppressing Wnt/β-catenin signaling.

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