Aberrant regulation of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway has an important role during the onset and progression of colorectal cancer, with over 90% of cases of sporadic colon cancer featuring mutations in APC or ?-catenin. However, it has remained a point of controversy whether these mutations are sufficient to activate the pathway or require additional upstream signals. Here we show that colorectal tumours express elevated levels of Wnt3 and Evi/Wls/GPR177. We found that in colon cancer cells, even in the presence of mutations in APC or ?-catenin, downstream signalling remains responsive to Wnt ligands and receptor proximal signalling. Furthermore, we demonstrate that truncated APC proteins bind ?-catenin and key components of the destruction complex. These results indicate that cells with mutations in APC or ?-catenin depend on Wnt ligands and their secretion for a sufficient level of ?-catenin signalling, which potentially opens new avenues for therapeutic interventions by targeting Wnt secretion via Evi/Wls.
Wnt/?-catenin signaling plays an important role in embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis. When Wnt ligands bind to the receptor complex, LRP5/6 coreceptors are activated by phosphorylation and concomitantly endocytosed. In vertebrates, Wnt ligands induce caveolin-dependent endocytosis of LRP6 to relay signal downstream, whereas antagonists such as Dickkopf promote clathrin-dependent endocytosis, leading to inhibition. However, little is known about how LRP6 is directed to different internalization mechanisms, and how caveolin-dependent endocytosis is mediated. In an RNAi screen, we identified the Rab GTPase RAB8B as being required for Wnt/?-catenin signaling. RAB8B depletion reduces LRP6 activity, ?-catenin accumulation, and induction of Wnt target genes, whereas RAB8B overexpression promotes LRP6 activity and internalization and rescues inhibition of caveolar endocytosis. In Xenopus laevis and Danio rerio, RAB8B morphants show lower Wnt activity during embryonic development. Our results implicate RAB8B as an essential evolutionary conserved component of Wnt/?-catenin signaling through regulation of LRP6 activity and endocytosis.
Cell-based high-throughput RNAi screening has become a powerful research tool in addressing a variety of biological questions. In RNAi screening, one of the most commonly applied assay system is measuring the fitness of cells that is usually quantified using fluorescence, luminescence and absorption-based readouts. These methods, typically implemented and scaled to large-scale screening format, however often only yield limited information on the cell fitness phenotype due to evaluation of a single and indirect physiological indicator. To address this problem, we have established a cell fitness multiplexing assay which combines a biochemical approach and two fluorescence-based assaying methods. We applied this assay in a large-scale RNAi screening experiment with siRNA pools targeting the human kinome in different modified HEK293 cell lines. Subsequent analysis of ranked fitness phenotypes assessed by the different assaying methods revealed average phenotype intersections of 50.7±2.3%-58.7±14.4% when two indicators were combined and 40-48% when a third indicator was taken into account. From these observations we conclude that combination of multiple fitness measures may decrease false-positive rates and increases confidence for hit selection. Our robust experimental and analytical method improves the classical approach in terms of time, data comprehensiveness and cost.
RNA interference (RNAi) has become a powerful tool to dissect cellular pathways and characterize gene functions. The availability of genome-wide RNAi libraries for various model organisms and mammalian cells has enabled high-throughput RNAi screenings. These RNAi screens successfully identified key components that had previously been missed in classical forward genetic screening approaches and allowed the assessment of combined loss-of-function phenotypes. Crucially, the quality of RNAi screening results depends on quantitative assays and the choice of the right biological context. In this review, we provide an overview on the design and application of high-throughput RNAi screens as well as data analysis and candidate validation strategies.
High-throughput RNAi or small molecule screens have proven to be powerful methodologies for the systematic dissection of cellular processes. In model organisms and cell lines, large-scale screens have identified key components of many cellular pathways and helped to identify novel targets in disease-relevant pathways. Image-based high-content screening has become an increasingly important tool in high-throughput screening, enabling changes in phenotype characteristics, such as cell morphology and cell differentiation, to be monitored. In this review, we discuss the use of image-based screening approaches to explore the behavior of adult, embryonic, and induced pluripotent stem cells. First, we review how current pluripotency and differentiation assays can be adapted to high-throughput formats. We then describe general aspects of image-based screening of cells and present an outlook on challenges for screening stem cells.
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