Gene mutations impairing the functions of the WNT signaling transduction pathway have been found in approximately 15% of human sporadic medulloblastomas. To understand the functional role of the WNT pathway in medulloblastoma, we have investigated the intracellular distribution of β-catenin in a series of 17 human medulloblastomas to correlate such expression with neuronal differentiation and in cultured cell models following functional silencing of the APC gene by small-interference RNA (siRNA). Transient siRNA transfection resulted in a 50% reduction of the APC gene product levels in both DAOY and D283MED cell lines. In the former, less-differentiated cell line, β-catenin levels remained unchanged or were slightly reduced, but β-catenin translocated in the nucleus following APC gene siRNA silencing. In contrast, in the more differentiated D283MED cells, β-catenin levels increased about twofold while mainly maintaining the cytoplasmic and cell membrane localization. Cytoplasmic/nuclear localization of β-catenin was present in 12 of 17 cases of medulloblastoma with a prevalent distribution in the classic, 6/7 cases, and large cell/anaplastic variant, 4/4 cases. The nodular/desmoplastic lesions showed strongly positivity in the cell membrane mainly of intranodular cells with advanced neuronal differentiation. These observations support an important functional role of WNT/β-catenin pathway in neuronal differentiation in medulloblastoma.
- Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC)
- Electron microscopy
- Small-interfering RNAs (siRNA)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Structural Biology