Divergent roles of p120‐catenin isoforms linked to altered cell viability, proliferation, and invasiveness in carcinogen‐induced rat skin tumors Academic Article uri icon


  • The heterocyclic amine 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) targets multiple organs for tumorigenesis in the rat, including the colon and the skin. PhIP-induced skin tumors were subjected to mutation screening, which identified genetic changes in Hras (7/40, 17.5%) and Tp53 (2/40, 5%), but not in Ctnnb1, a commonly mutated gene in PhIP-induced colon tumors. Despite the absence of Ctnnb1 mutations, β-catenin was overexpressed in nuclear and plasma membrane fractions from PhIP-induced skin tumors, coinciding with loss of p120-catenin from the plasma membrane, and the appearance of multiple p120-catenin-associated bands in the nuclear extracts. Real-time RT-PCR revealed that p120-catenin isoforms 1 and 4 were upregulated in PhIP-induced skin tumors, whereas p120-catenin isoform 3 was expressed uniformly, compared with adjacent normal-looking tissue. In human epidermoid carcinoma and colon cancer cells, transient transfection of p120-catenin isoform 1A enhanced the viability and cell invasion index, whereas transient transfection of p120-catenin isoform 4A increased cell viability and cell proliferation. Knockdown of p120-catenin revealed a corresponding reduction in the expression of β-catenin and a transcriptionally regulated target, Ccnd1/Cyclin D1. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments identified associations of β-catenin with p120-catenin isoforms in PhIP-induced skin tumors and human cancer cell lines. The results are discussed in the context of therapeutic strategies that might target different p120-catenin isoforms, providing an avenue to circumvent constitutively active β-catenin arising via distinct mechanisms in skin and colon cancer.

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, R., Chen, Y., Dashwood, W., Li, Q., Löhr, C. V., Fischer, K., ... Dashwood, R. H.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • March 2017