New targets of beta-catenin signaling in the liver are involved in the glutamine metabolism

A. Cadoret, C. Ovejero, B. Terris, E. Souil, L. Levy, W.H. Lamers, J. Kitajewski, A. Kahn, C. Perret*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


New targets of beta-catenin signaling in the liver are involved in the glutamine metabolism.

Cadoret A, Ovejero C, Terris B, Souil E, Levy L, Lamers WH, Kitajewski J, Kahn A, Perret C.

Departement de Genetique, Developpement et Pathologie Moleculaire, Institut Cochin, (INSERM U567, CNRS UMR 8104, Universite Paris V), 24 rue du Faubourg St-Jacques, 75014 Paris, France.

Inappropriate activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling has been implicated in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but exactly how beta-catenin works remains to be elucidated. To identify, in vivo, the target genes of beta-catenin in the liver, we have used the suppression subtractive hybridization technique and transgenic mice expressing an activated beta-catenin in the liver that developed hepatomegaly. We identified three genes involved in glutamine metabolism, encoding glutamine synthetase (GS), ornithine aminotransferase (OAT) and the glutamate transporter GLT-1. By Northern blot and immunohistochemical analysis we demonstrated that these three genes were specifically induced by activation of the beta-catenin pathway in the liver. In different mouse models bearing an activated beta-catenin signaling in the liver known to be associated with hepatocellular proliferation we observed a marked up-regulation of these three genes. The cellular distribution of GS and GLT-1 parallels beta-catenin activity. By contrast no up-regulation of these three genes was observed in the liver in which hepatocyte proliferation was induced by a signal-independent of beta-catenin. In addition, the GS promoter was activated in the liver of GS(+/LacZ) mice by adenovirus vector-mediated beta-catenin overexpression. Strikingly, the overexpression of the GS gene in human HCC samples was strongly correlated with beta-catenin activation. Together, our results indicate that GS is a target of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in the liver. Because a linkage of the glutamine pathway to hepatocarcinogenesis has already been demonstrated, we propose that regulation of these three genes of glutamine metabolism by beta-catenin is a contributing factor to liver carcinogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8293-82301
Number of pages9
Issue number54
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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