The third member of the Dickkopf family (DKK-3), also known as reduced expression in immortalized cells (REIC), is a tumor suppressor present in a variety of tumor cells. Regarding the regulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, exogenous DKK-1 and DKK-2 are reported to inhibit Wnt signaling by binding the associated effectors. However, whether exogenous DKK-3 inhibits Wnt signaling remains unclear. A recombinant protein of human full-length DKK-3 was used to investigate the exogenous effects of the protein in vitro in KPK1 human renal cell carcinoma cells. It was demonstrated that the expression of phosphorylated (p-)β-catenin (inactive form as the transcriptional factor) was increased in KPK1 cells treated with the exogenous DKK-3 protein. The levels of non-p-β-catenin (activated form of β-catenin) were consistently decreased. It was revealed that the expression of transcription factor (TCF) 1 and c-Myc, the downstream transcription factors of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, was inhibited following treatment with DKK-3. A cancer cell viability assay confirmed the anti‑proliferative effects of exogenous DKK-3 protein, which was consistent with a suppressed Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascade. In addition, as low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) is a receptor of DKK-1 and DKK-2 and their interaction on the cell surface inhibits Wnt/β-catenin signaling, it was examined whether the exogenous DKK-3 protein affects LRP6-mediated Wnt/β-catenin signaling. The LRP6 gene was silenced and the effects of DKK-3 on the time course of the upregulation of p-β-catenin expression were subsequently analyzed. Notably, LRP6 depletion elevated the base level of p-β-catenin; however, there was no significant effect on its upregulation course or expression pattern. These findings indicate that exogenous DKK-3 upregulates p-β-catenin and inhibits Wnt/β-catenin signaling in an LRP6-independent manner. Therefore, exogenous DKK-3 protein may inhibit the proliferation of KPK1 cells via inactivating Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
- Cell proliferation
- Kidney cancer
- Third member of the Dickkopf family/reduced expression in immortalized cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research