Research Papers:

Dragon (repulsive guidance molecule b, RGMb) is a novel gene that promotes colorectal cancer growth

Ying Shi, Guo-Bin Chen, Xiao-Xiao Huang, Chuan-Xing Xiao, Huan-Huan Wang, Ye-Sen Li, Jin-Fang Zhang, Shao Li, Yin Xia, Jian-Lin Ren and Bayasi Guleng _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:20540-20554. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4110

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Ying Shi1, Guo-Bin Chen1, Xiao-Xiao Huang1, Chuan-Xing Xiao1, Huan-Huan Wang1, Ye-Sen Li6,7, Jin-Fang Zhang4, Shao Li8, Yin Xia4,5, Jian-Lin Ren1 and Bayasi Guleng1,2,3

1 Department of Gastroenterology, Zhongshan Hospital, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China

2 Faculty of Clinical Medicine, Medical College, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China

3 State Key Laboratory of Cellular Stress Biology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China

4 School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, China

5 School of Biomedical Sciences Core Laboratory, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen, China

6 Department of Nuclear Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China

7 Center for Molecular Imaging and Translational Medicine, School of Public Health, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China

8 MOE Key Laboratory of Bioinformatics, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Correspondence to:

Bayasi Guleng, email:

Jian-Lin Ren, email:

Yin Xia, email:

Keywords: dragon, colorectal cancer, BMP, Smad1/5/8, Erk1/2, proliferation

Received: January 11, 2015 Accepted: April 21, 2015 Published: May 12, 2015


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and a major cause of cancer death. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying CRC initiation, growth and metastasis are poorly understood. Dragon (RGMb), a member of the repulsive guidance molecule (RGM) family, has been recently identified as a co-receptor for bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, but the role of Dragon in CRC development is undefined. Here, we show that Dragon expression was increased in colon cancer tissues compared to control tissues in CAC mouse model and in human patients. Dragon promoted proliferation of CT26.WT and CMT93 colon cancer cells and accelerated tumor growth in the xenograft mouse model. Dragon’s action on colon cancer development was mediated via the BMP4-Smad1/5/8 and Erk1/2 pathways. Therefore, our results have revealed that Dragon is a novel gene that promotes CRC growth through the BMP pathway. Dragon may be exploited as a potential therapeutic target for CRC treatment.

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