Regulation of leukemic cell adhesion, proliferation, and survival by β-catenin

Eun Joo Chung, Sang Gu Hwang, Phuongmai Nguyen, Sunmin Lee, Jung Sik Kim, Jin Woo Kim, Pierre A. Henkart, Donald P. Bottaro, Lilian Soon, Paolo Bonvini, Su Jae Lee, Judith E. Karp, Ho Jung Oh, Jeffrey S. Rubin, Jane B. Trepel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


In epithelial cells β-catenin plays a critical role as a component of the cell-cell adhesion apparatus and as a coactivator of the TCF/LEF (T-cell transcription factor/lymphoid enhancer binding factor) family of transcription factors. Deregulation of β-catenin has been implicated in the malignant transformation of cells of epithelial origin. However, a function for β-catenin in hematologic malignancies has not been reported. β-Catenin is not detectable in normal peripheral blood T cells but is expressed in T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells and other tumor lines of hematopoietic origin and in primary lymphoid and myeloid leukemia cells. β-Catenin function was examined in Jurkat T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. Overexpression of dominant-negative β-catenin or dominant-negative TCF reduced β-catenin nuclear signaling and inhibited Jurkat proliferation and clonogenicity. Similarly, these constructs inhibited proliferation of K562 and HUT-102 cells. Reduction of β-catenin expression with β-catenin antisense down-regulated adhesion of Jurkat cells in response to phytohemagglutinin. Incubation of Jurkat cells with anti-Fas induced caspase-dependent limited proteolysis of β-catenin N- and C-terminal regions and rapid redistribution of β-catenin to the detergent-insoluble cytoskeleton, concomitant with a marked decline in nuclear β-catenin signaling. Fas-mediated apoptosis was potentiated by inhibition of β-catenin nuclear signaling. The data suggest that β-catenin can play a significant role in promoting leukemic cell proliferation, adhesion, and survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-990
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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