The physical interaction between β-catenin and the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene, and the ability of APC to regulate cytoplasmic levels of β-catenin suggest a role for β-catenin in colorectal carcinogenesis. In this study, we found that β-catenin immunoreactivity was detected exclusively in the cell membrane and cytoplasm of morphologically normal intestinal epithelial cells with predominant distribution in the differentiated non-proliferative cell population. In contrast, β-catenin was localized predominantly in the nucleus of adenomas from Min/+ mice and transgenic mice expressing a mutant truncated form of the APC gene (Apc(Δ716) mice). β-catenin was expressed predominantly at the cell membrane and cytoplasm of the nontransformed rat intestinal epithelial (RIE-1) cells in culture, whereas predominantly nuclear localization of β-catenin was observed in the human colon cancer cell line SW480. In the azoxymethane (AOM) treated rats, overexpression and nuclear localization of β-catenin was observed in all adenomas. Previous studies have indicated the incidence of APC mutations amongst AOM-induced tumors to be 15% or less. These results demonstrate that nuclear localization of β-catenin is a common event in colorectal tumorigenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research