The β-catenin/TCF complex as a novel target of resveratrol in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway

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Abstract

Wnts are secreted glycolipoproteins that play important roles in the regulation of embryonic development and tissue homeostasis. Binding of Wnt to receptors and co-receptors causes inactivation of the β-catenin destruction complex, which leads to the stabilization and nuclear translocation of β-catenin to initiate Wnt-responsive gene expression after associating with TCF in the nucleus. As its deregulation results in serious human diseases, especially cancers, the Wnt signaling pathway serves as a promising platform for screening anti-cancer drugs. Resveratrol was selected based on its ability to inhibit the β-catenin/TCF-mediated transcriptional activity. Resveratrol, a natural phytoalexin found in a variety of plants, possesses health-promoting properties including anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, cardioprotective and neuroprotective activities. We found that resveratrol indeed exhibited dose-dependent suppression of Wnt signaling, reduced the expression of Wnt target genes such as cyclin D1 and conductin, and inhibited the growth of Wnt-stimulated cells and Wnt-driven colorectal cancer cells. Further studies indicated that resveratrol functions downstream of GSK3β. Treatment with resveratrol did not alter the amount of β-catenin and its distribution in the cytoplasm and nucleus, suggesting that resveratrol did not affect the accumulation and nuclear targeting of β-catenin. In contrast, co-immunoprecipitation and in vitro binding analyses substantiated that resveratrol was capable of disrupting the binding between β-catenin and TCF4, contributing to the decreased Wnt signaling. Our discoveries not only reveal a novel target of resveratrol in the Wnt signaling pathway but also show the potential of therapy with harmless resveratrol in colorectal cancer and other Wnt-related diseases.

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