Research Papers:

Adenomatous polyposis coli mutants dominantly activate Hsf1-dependent cell stress pathways through inhibition of microtubule dynamics

Alexander E. Davies, Kaitlyn Kortright and Kenneth B. Kaplan _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:25202-25216. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4513

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Alexander E. Davies1, Kaitlyn Kortright1, Kenneth B. Kaplan1

1Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

Correspondence to:

Kenneth B. Kaplan, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: cell stress, adenomatous polyposis coli, microtubules, cancer field effect, Hsp90

Received: February 23, 2015     Accepted: July 10, 2015     Published: July 22, 2015


Cancer cells up-regulate cell stress pathways, including the protein chaperone Hsp90. Increases in Hsp90 are believed “buffer” mutant protein activities necessary for cancer phenotypes. Activation of the cell stress pathway also alters the transcriptional landscape of cells in ways that are critical for cancer progression. However, it is unclear when and how the cell stress pathway is de-regulated during cancer progression. Here we report that mutations in adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) found in colorectal cancer activate cell stress pathways in mouse intestinal crypt cells, prior to loss of heterozygosity at APC or to the appearance of canonical intestinal cancer markers. Hsp90 levels are elevated in normal APC heterozygote crypt cells and further elevated in non-cancer cells adjacent to dysplasias, suggesting that the Hsp90 stress pathway marks the “cancer-field” effect. Expression of mutant APC in normal human epithelial cells is sufficient to activate a cell stress pathway via perturbations in microtubule dynamics. Inhibition of microtubule dynamics is sufficient to activate an Hsf1-dependent increase in gene transcription and protein levels. We suggest that the early activation of this Hsf1 dependent cell stress pathway by mono-allelic mutations in APC can affect cell programming in a way that contributes to cancer onset.

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